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Brief Understanding of Fileless Ransomware

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Though the fileless ransomware may not be new, some of its technique have been used even now. Read on to know more on the increasing threat of fileless malware…

Unlike the conventional malware, fileless malware attacks enables cyber goons not installing software on a victim’s computer. Instead, tools that are part of Windows OS are hijacked by cyber goons and used it to attack the Windows OS. The fact that there’s no signature for the fileless malware in order to being detected by antivirus software, greatly decreases the effectiveness of anti-malware softwares in detecting fileless malware attacks. The development and large-scale distribution of exploit kits has made fileless malware attacks much more common. While next-generation anti-malware solutions can detect malicious PowerShell activity, the reality is that discovering fileless malware attacks is very challenging. Technically known as fileless or malware-free ransomware, these tools are a major threat. The challenges that organizations face in detecting these attacks combined with the availability of these techniques is exactly why this tactic is being increasingly adopted by the cyber-crooks.

Deadly Features
The rise of cryptocurrencies has also enhanced the viability of ransomware. Anonymous payment methods let hackers have hard-to-trace means of extracting money from their victims. At the same time, cryptocurrency transfers cannot be reversed and thus, they are effective as well as secure.

Fileless ransomware attacks leave your system wide open for cybercriminals to exploit. They can do all kinds of things with your network or device once they hack it including data theft/encryption without being detected. They also open up the compromised device to multiple attacks. This is because the attacker can write scripts while deriving information from the compromised device.

Working Mechanism
Ransomware makes use of PowerShell based scripts or macros for file encryption. This is different from traditional ransomware which performed data-based file encryption. Fileless malware attacks default Windows tools, particularly PowerShell and Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI), and use them for malicious activity, like moving laterally to other computers. PowerShell and WMI Windows tools are the choice of weapons used by cyber-crooks since they are capable of carrying out commands. For instance, PowerShell can be used to automate tasks across multiple computers and have been incorporated into the daily workflow in enterprises, restricting employees access to these tools.

The strategy of malicious attackers is to use legitimate programs like Windows PowerShell for cyber-attacks which is nearly undetectable by most anti malware scanners and even skilled security analysts. In other words, since the PowerShell and WMI are legitimate Windows programs, any command they execute is assumed to also be legitimate.

Mitigation
Ensure that your critical data is backed up. Staying protected is all about being mindful of attacks. This will enable you to disarm such attacks by accessing a restore point that is unaffected by the breach. Turn off all macros. Otherwise, refrain from opening files which you are not sure of. In case you have any doubts, you should get in touch with your IT admin. Detailed warnings should be issued to employees not to open unsecured email attachments and to avoid visiting suspect websites and third-party apps.

Stop malicious emails, web pages, and interaction through browsers and servers. You should follow prudence when dealing with a potentially malicious email. Simply block anything that does not appear to be genuine or has even the slightest feel of shadiness.

A Brief Conclusion
The ransomware market has been evolving. A new breed of malicious agents has arrived. Telecom companies, Government agencies, and Banking institutions and other government and financial sectors have to stay secure by looking for stealth fileless malware attacks unleashed by cyber-crooks.

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