On September 27, 2023, the FBI issued an alert regarding a growing trend of dual ransomware attacks, primarily targeting US businesses. The FBI emphasized that these attacks were occurring in close succession, with some victims encountering two different ransomware variants within a 48-hour timeframe. The reason dual attacks are becoming more common is that, following the initial attack, the victim is at their most vulnerable state. The second strike on an already compromised system intensifies the impact.

What are Dual ransomware attacks?

Dual attacks refer to a ransomware strategy employing multiple distinct forms of malware. The initial malware variant is employed to infiltrate the target system, while a second malware variant is utilized to encrypt the victim’s files. This approach presents an elevated level of danger due to its increased complexity, making it a more challenging threat to identify and thwart when compared to traditional ransomware attacks. An attack can also be defined as a dual ransomware attack when a threat actor hits the same victim within 10 days or less.

A common form of dual attack utilizes a phishing email to deliver a Trojan horse to infiltrate the victim’s computer. Once installed, the trojan horse is used to install ransomware onto the system to encrypt sensitive information and data. Another common form of a dual attack uses zero-day exploits to invade a victim’s system. A zero-day exploit is a cyberattack that takes advantage of a previously unknown vulnerability or security flaw in software or hardware. The term “zero-day” refers to the fact that the exploit happens on the same day that the vulnerability is discovered before the software developer has a chance to patch the issue. These day-zero exploits are particularly dangerous since they target weaknesses that have no known fixes or patches. Software vendors try to release security updates and patches to address zero-day vulnerabilities as soon as they become aware.

Tips to protect yourself against Dual attacks:

Dual attacks pose a significant risk to businesses and organizations. Safeguarding your systems against these threats is crucial. Here are tips to help you protect yourself against dual attacks:

● Monitor networks for unusual activity and maintain a responsive incident management strategy

● Install antivirus programs, firewalls, IDS/IPS (Intrusion detection and prevention systems), and other security software

● Provide up-to-date training for employees on social engineering tactics, email security, malware, and safe browsing practices

● Implement MFA (Multi-Factor Authentication) for cloud services and remote access

● Adopt a zero-trust security framework

● Segment your network to prevent threat actors from easily spreading throughout the entire network when compromised

● Keep software up-to-date with the latest security patches

● Frequently backup your data

The world of cybersecurity is evolving rapidly and growing more complex by the day. Keeping up with the latest threats and best security practices is essential for risk mitigation.

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