Ransomware Attack Written In Python Discovered

So this is a new one and a sure sign that the bad guys are evolving their attacks at a rapid place.

Earlier this week, threat researchers at Sophos discovered a new strain of ransomware, written in Python and designed to deploy ransomware unusually fast. The strain was used to compromise and encrypt virtual machines hosted on an ESXi hypervisor.

In what was one of the quickest attacks Sophos has investigated, from the time of the initial compromise until the deployment of the ransomware script, the attackers only spent just over three hours on the target’s network before encrypting the virtual disks in a VMware ESXi server.

That’s pretty scary. I’d read the full report as it’s pretty eye opening. But I did get this comment from Mieng Lim, VP of product management at Digital Defense by HelpSystems:

“Ransomware threats are constantly evolving. From the commoditization of ransomware through the recent availability of as-a-service tools, to increasingly sophisticated attack strategies, it is a threat landscape that demands constant monitoring and education from organizations and governments alike. This is perfectly illustrated by the new strain of ransomware discovered by Sophos this week.

Typically, hackers enter their victim’s systems and linger undetected, harvesting data and identifying targets before they deploy a targeted ransomware attack. However, this new python-based ransomware enters systems and initiates an attack within a few hours, making fast-acting threat detection and response absolutely essential for businesses. 

The first step in building an effective ransomware mitigation strategy is always setting realistic expectations. Ransomware breaches are no longer fully preventable, so businesses must focus on layering defensive barriers between an attacker and their most sensitive data. Running regular penetration testing and vulnerability scanning can help an organization identify and repair possible attack vectors, closing backdoors before an attacker can enter them and minimizing an attacker’s ability to escalate their privileges once inside the system. 

However, for any organization looking to improve its cyber threat response time, threat detection tools are a must. Network Traffic Analysis (NTA) works to monitor a network for any suspicious activity, detecting ransomware breaches and infection as quickly as possible. On top of these, active threat scans can give the organization peace of mind. If a breach is spotted, it is important to reassess the state of the IT environment to ensure that there isn’t a repeat attack. Unfortunately, we live in an era where preventing 100% of cyber risks is no longer possible, but constant vigilance, ongoing-cyber threat education, and a well-planned threat detection and response strategy will go a long way towards keeping your organization’s most sensitive data safe.”

The people responsible for securing critical IT infrastructure are really working hard to earn their money as this ransomware attack via Python shows that the attack surface that they have to secure is constantly growing. And will continue to grow.

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