In recent years we’ve watched our economy gradually shift toward more “gig” work and fewer “traditional” types of employment. So it might not surprise you to learn that the cybercrime economy has taken a similar turn! Criminals have learned that for the sake of efficiency, renting or selling their tools can carry lower risk and result in greater rewards, as opposed to the more traditional method of carrying out a cyberattack themselves. A new trend in cybercrime, called “human-operated ransomware”, has emerged.

How does it work? A cybercriminal develops a tool – for example, a ransomware virus – and then sells it to another hacker who then uses it to perform their attacks. So intead of creating a virus and simply unleashing mayhem anywhere and everywhere that it ends up, ransomware attacks have become much more deliberate and targeted.

A cybercriminal using a ready-made hacking tool will then break into a specific, chosen institution’s network. Using the ransomware, data is locked and a ransom demanded. The difference is that the attack is being run in real time, by a real person who is monitoring the process and making decisions at every step of the way. Based on what they discover within the network, and what challenges are presented, the person operating the attack will identify increasing vulnerabilities and opportunities that they then exploit. Human-operated ransomware can feel much more insidious and difficult to eradicate, because often it is.

Of course, the counter to these methods looks a lot like the same process, but in reverse. A real person (an IT specialist) should analyze your network, along with all of your accounts and equipment. That person can identify potential vulnerabilities, one by one, and put together a strategy to protect your network, your data, and your company. For more information on countering ransomware and other types of cybercrime, call us at 888-RING-MY-TECH. A specialist will help you analyze your needs and keep your data safe.