Ransomware isn’t even strange news anymore. It started in 2013 with the only goal of encrypting companies and demanding a ransom to decrypt. Between that time and 2019, over 2,103 companies have had their stolen data leaked by Ransomware gangs on the dark web.
In 2020, modern ransomware operations took a new dimension with a tactic referred to as the Double Extortion.
What is Double Extortion?
Many companies have files unencrypted stored on their devices. However, before these files are encrypted to a network, ransomware gangs steal them and threaten to release them to the public. With such sensitive, valuable information in the opening, it could adversely affect the company. Hence, the company is left with no choice but to pay the demanded ransom. This operation is called Double Extortion.
Other factors further aid the threats so that these companies (victims) will meet the necessary demands in a short time. These factors are additional concerns such as lawsuits, fines, and data breaches.
What Is the Progress So Far?
The Dark Web is a wild place. You can get almost anything – any valuable piece of information. In researching data leak sites and ransomware gangs, a dark web security expert called DarkTracer recorded 34 gangs. It is believed that these gangs have leaked stolen data of up to 2,100 companies and plans to do more in the future.
DarkTracer was able to identify these 34 gangs by their following. Some of them include Team Snatch, Mount Locker, LockBit, Pay2Key, MAZE, Conti, Ragnarok, Marketo, Avaddon, DarkSide, Pysa, NEMTY, XING LOCKER, Lorenz, Astro Team, Suncrypt, and others.
Surprisingly, there is a hierarchy between these gangs based on active, successful operations. At first, MAZE (266) and Egregor (206) were the two leading gangs, but they no longer exist. Currently on the list are Conti, with a total of 338 leaks, while REvil (222), DoppelPaynmer (200), Avaddon (123), and Pysa (103) follow.
Every day, people find new means to make money with different skills they have. One of the ways is through data extortion using cyber attacking skills. It is illegal but a good money-maker.
However, there is no guarantee that the data won’t be leaked or sold even after paying the ransom. So, if that ever happens within your company, the best solution is to treat it as a data breach and reach out to affected individuals. That is why there are so many VPN companies out there and anti-virus programs. See internetetsecurite on how to use VPN for internet security and data protection.