Solution Briefs

Reduce the Number of Ransomware Infections Across Your Organization

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What is ransomware? Ransomware is a malicious software designed to hold a user's files (such as healthcare records, financial contracts, manufacturing blueprints, software code, and other documents) for ransom by encrypting them and demanding the user pay a fee (often in Bitcoin) to decrypt them. How ransomware works Attackers initiate attacks using an array of tactics. Ransomware infections often first begin with an exploit kit — which are software kits designed to identify software vulnerabilities on endpoints and then upload and execute malicious code on the endpoint. This can happen when users click on links in phishing emails or if malicious ads or compromised sites redirect users to domains hosting exploit kits like 'Angler' . Exploit kits can also be delivered via email attachments or infected thumbdrives, but interestingly, this initial payload is not the ransomware. If the initial payload successfully exploits a system, it analyzes its environment (for example, looks at the operating system, and unpatched applications) to drop an effective ransomware variant. A callback is then made to the ransomware infrastructure to retrieve the private keys needed to encrypt the endpoint. Most popular exploit kits and ransomware variants have to resolve a domain name to an IP address to initiate the callback. Infected users have two options: pay the ransom or potentially reimage the endpoint and reinstall a recent backup and hope the ransomware won't spread to other systems on their network. Cisco Security Solutions provide an extraordinary breadth of coverage against ransomware attacks: Cisco Umbrella protects devices on and off the corporate network. In the case of the initial infiltration, Umbrella flags the exploit or phishing domain as malicious and blocks the DNS request before the browser connects to the malicious site. Umbrella stops C2 callbacks — over any port or protocol — which can stop the ransomware drop or the C2 callback for the encryption key. Cisco Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints provides point- in-time protection to detect malware that evades initial inspection. Using a combination of file signatures, file reputation, behavioral indicators, and sandboxing, AMP can stop the initial exploit kit from executing on the endpoint and can also stop the execution of the ransomware file and remove it. Cisco Email Security gateways employ Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) technology to detect ransomware that arrives by email in attachments and URLs. The technology is the same as that applied in the endpoint, but it's deployed at the email gateway. For email attachments, AMP uses file reputation and file sandboxing to identify and block suspicious files where no known signature exists. Catching ransomware at the email gateway is preferred to detecting it downstream because a Cisco Email Security gateway can drop one email carrying ransomware to many recipients. AMP in email security provides a defense-in-depth approach to remediating ransomware attacks. Cisco Security Reduce the number of ransomware infections across your organization Although variants of ransomware behave differently — there are many ways that Cisco can help. Cisco Umbrella learns from internet activity patterns from 80+ billion daily DNS requests at any given time to identify attacker infrastructure being staged for the next threat. Using statistical models developed by the Cisco Umbrella security researchers, we're able to automatically discover, classify, and even predict the callback destinations used by exploit kits, phishing campaigns, and many ransomware variants. Exploit or phishing domains Compromised sites and malvertising Phishing spam Blocked by Cisco Umbrella Blocked by Cisco AMP for Endpoints Ransomware payload Web redirect Web link File drop Email attachment C2 C2 Nuclear Angler Malicious infrastructure Encryption key infrastructure Rig Waste less time fighting ransomware attacks © 2016 Cisco and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.

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