Human-operated ransomware attacks are fast becoming the biggest threat that organizations, businesses, government institutions, health care providers and veterinary practices face heading into the future.
Unlike commodity ransomware attacks, which have grown in popularity in the past few years, human-operated ransomware attacks are able to evade all your cyber security measures such as firewalls and anti-ransomware software, increasing their success rate. They are also operated by more technically skilled and adaptable cybercriminals who spend weeks and sometimes months analyzing their potential victims’ computer systems before launching attacks.
In most cases, human-operated cybercriminals have been found to be primarily motivated by money. To successfully increase their chances of having a payday, they scour computer systems, looking for documents, files and information they can steal before encrypting all the files and contacting their victims to notify them that their systems have been compromised and they would like to be paid.
What is human-operated ransomware?
Human-operated ransomware attacks are controlled by skilled cyber criminals with hands-on experience in computer vulnerability. These types of attacks usually take time before they are launched but are more persistent, meaning they can mutate to evade detection from common anti-malware systems, allowing the attackers to stay hidden for a long time within an organization until when it is time to launch an attack.
According to Microsoft, these types of attacks use predictable methods to enter a computer system or network but eventually rely on hands-on keyboard skills to move through the network and launch an attack.
A threat analysis by Microsoft also shows that these types of attacks are catastrophic to their victims because they are hard to detect, have the ability to move laterally through a network and require complete adversary eviction if a victim needs to get rid of future human-operated attacks.
When compared to commodity ransomware, human-operated ransomware attacks are also much more dangerous because ransomware operators will continue threatening your veterinary practice even after the first encounter fails.
Difference between human-operated ransomware and commodity ransomware
Chances are you have heard about ransomware as a service (RaaS) attacks, which have enabled cybercriminals to operate with impunity and expand their operations to obscure industries that, in the past, were ignored when carrying out large-scale cyberattacks. The RaaS cyberattacks are an example of commodity ransomware attacks, and they are easy to operate, potential cybercriminals can get their hands on them easily and launching then is as easy as just a few mouse clicks.
Human-operated ransomware attacks, on the other hand, require hands-on cybersecurity and software development experience. They are much more sophisticated and take time to hone the skills before launching such attacks. These types of attacks also have a higher success rate, and cybercriminals launching them have to have expertise on how to move laterally through a network without detection.
As a veterinary practice, chances are you are going to be hit by a commodity ransomware attack. However, we cannot rule out the possibility that, in the future, human-operated ransomware attacks will be as readily available as commodity ransomware attacks, therefore, it is important to protect yourself against either of the ransomware attacks.
Protection against human-operated ransomware
Protecting yourself against human-operated ransomware attacks has, in the past, proven to be difficult.
However, new advancements in cybersecurity measures, mostly spearheaded by Microsoft, have found the integration of artificial intelligence and anti-ransomware to be an effective solution for preventing such attacks.
According to Microsoft, using the most predictable methods that human-operated ransomware attackers use to enter a computer system, they can be able to detect when an attack is being launched and intercept it before an attack is carried out. This is done by using cloud-based machine learning systems that are able to intelligently query your computer systems and determine if they are at risk.
If the cloud-based system notices that your computer is in serious danger of a human-operated ransomware attack, the AI-based system becomes aggressive blocking verdict to protect devices, networks and computer systems.
Relying on anti-virus/anti-ransomware software programs, however, may not be as effective because the ransomware attacks are launched in the form of hacking, which is not detectable using such programs.
Another recommended method of protecting your computer system against such attacks is updating your legacy software and hardware. Most hackers use old systems to penetrate your systems, by using unpatched cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Therefore, if your veterinary practice has legacy software and hardware, consider updating them as soon as possible to avoid being compromised.
How Lucca can keep your hospital safe from human-operated ransomware attacks
Lucca leverage two very specific tools to help mitigate the risks of even the best ransomware attacks.
1) Lucca leverages and AI or machine learning computer protection system to keep your network safe. Always learning always becoming better to keep you protected from the latest threats.
2) Lucca leverages a Ransomware specific attack. Which is always being updated to look for the latest ransomware tools. This tool will stop the application from running and then prevent the infected computer from communicating to any other computer on the network. All the while allowing our security agents access to the machine to clean up the infection.
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