In a case of adding insult to injury, a new strain of ransomware is looking for one payment to decrypt, and a second payment to not publish stolen files.
We first saw the Maze ransomware late last year first threaten the release of victim data should the ransom not be paid. In recent months, it seems nearly every ransomware strain has jumped on board and are utilizing this new money-making practice.
But a new twist has surfaced with Ako ransomware. In addition to holding data for ransom and stealing data, threatening to publish it if the ransom isn’t paid, Ako also has demanded a second ransom to not release the stolen data. This tactic appears to only apply to larger victim companies and is also dependent upon the kind of data stolen.
While we’ve seen the average ransom doubling this year, this second demand for a ransom tends to run in the $100K to $2M range (remember, the organizations seeing these types of attacks are the ones the the Ako folks believe have deep pockets). This second ransom almost assures the cybercriminal some form of payment, one way or another.
Ransomware-turned-data breach is the name of the game moving forward.
The only good answer here is to strengthen every weak point in your organization’s security. Security solutions will help, but the user themselves needs to be equally more security-minded. Enrolling them in continual Security Awareness Training will lower the risk of falling for a phishing attack or social engineering scam that results in the installation of ransomware.