Normally so expensive that they are only associated with nation-states, zero-day vulnerabilities are now within reach of ransomware gangs that have amassed fortunes to continue attacks.
New details have emerged, as security researchers at Digital Shadows have uncovered offers on the Dark Web from threat actors for zero-day exploits (such as Remote Code Execution vulnerabilities, like that of the infamous Hafnium attack on Microsoft Exchange earlier this year). With open offers in the millions being put out as sort of a dark “bounty” to the hacker that can expose a vulnerability in a major OS, platform, or application, we’re seeing a brand new service being born – the exploit-as-a-service.
This shouldn’t be a surprise, really. I covered ransomware gangs acting as VCs, investing in “startup” ventures that could result in the next big piece of malware used in a cyberattack. So, it makes sense that if they have money to invest in the things they need, the thing might just be an exploit that can be used to further ransomware attacks, data breaches, and more.
The only way to stop these kinds of evolutionary steps is to cut the ransomware gangs off at their one choke point – the successful attack. Kill their ability to make money and, like any business, they eventually fade away.
Organizations with Security Awareness Training in place are best prepared against ransomware attacks using phishing as their primary attack vector. By educating users on the scams, schemes, social engineering tactics, and more used in phishing attacks, the users can spot one a mile away and never engage with it to facilitate a successful attack.
You should expect to see more innovation from ransomware gangs; after all, they have plenty of money to throw at the problem of trying to gain access to your environment. Stopping them today is the only way to achieve them going away tomorrow.