Ransomware attacks have become increasingly prevalent and sophisticated, and the latest discovery of the "CACTUS" variant is no exception. This insidious malware leverages known vulnerabilities in VPN appliances to gain initial access to targeted networks, allowing the perpetrators to employ custom scripts to deploy and detonate the ransomware encryptor via scheduled tasks. What's even more concerning is that the ransomware has been observed targeting large commercial entities, employing double extortion tactics to steal sensitive data before encrypting it.
CACTUS uses various tactics to evade detection and monitoring tools, making it extremely difficult to detect and stop. It employs Cobalt Strike and Chisel for command-and-control, as well as remote monitoring and management software to push files to infected hosts. It disables and uninstalls security solutions, extracts credentials from web browsers and the Local Security Authority Subsystem Service (LSASS), conducts lateral movement and data exfiltration, and even encrypts itself.
In addition to CACTUS, there are many other ransomware families, such as Rapture, Gazprom, BlackBit, UNIZA, Akira, and Kadavro Vector, that have emerged in recent weeks. It is crucial for companies to keep their systems updated and implement the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP) to protect themselves from these threats.
One solution that companies can use to protect themselves from these ransomware attacks is the Zero Trust security model. Zero Trust security model assumes that all users and devices are untrusted until they can be verified and authenticated, thereby restricting access to only necessary resources. This approach can greatly reduce the risk of a ransomware attack by limiting the lateral movement of the malware within the network.
In summary, the threat of ransomware attacks is growing, and it is imperative that companies take measures to protect themselves. Implementing a Zero Trust security model can greatly reduce the risk of a ransomware attack, and companies should also ensure that their systems are up-to-date and follow the Principle of Least Privilege (PoLP). Stay vigilant and protect yourself from the scourge of ransomware!