Both ransomware and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks alone have long been a potent cybersecurity threat to businesses with cybercriminals having developed innovative strategies to target victims by combining the maliciousness of both ransomware and DDOS, called ransom DDoS.
What Is Ransomware?
By definition, “ransomware” is a malicious software that makes a victim’s device captive and demands a ransom to release it. It’s a potent money-making strategy for cyber criminals that exploit various means to infect organizational networks, encrypting their data. Thus, the subsequent urgency to recover data for continuing regular operations compels the victim firms to pay the demanded ransom to the attackers.
Most modern ransomware attacks also apply double extortion – stealing data before encryption – to keep blackmailing victims even if they try to recover lost data from backups.
What is Ransom DDos?
Another attack strategy commonly executed by ransomware gangs is the “ransom DDoS” attack. Also known as “ransom DoS” or “RDoS” depending on whether attackers utilize DoS or DDoS attacks.
Attackers may not breach the victim’s network and instead directly flood a victim’s system with malicious traffic to create a denial-of-service. The attackers aim to force the victim into paying the ransom to get their system back online.
Unlike conventional ransomware attacks, ransom DDoS attacks can be temporary. Since remaining offline isn’t desirable for online businesses, RDDoS or ransom DDoS attacks create a sense of urgency, pressuring victims to pay the ransom.
Differences and Similarities?
Both ransomware and ransom DDoS share many similarities regarding the attack vectors. Whereas the differences lie in the attackers’ intended actions.
- Both ransomware and ransom DDoS attacks usually target businesses.
- Both attacks compel the victims into paying the ransom.
- The result in both types of attacks is a compromise of the victim’s operational capability.
- Both ransomware and ransom DDoS tools are often available as RaaS (ransomware-as-a-service) by different ransomware gangs.
- Ransomware and ransom DDoS can have a nightmarish effect on the victim firm’s credibility and integrity.
- Ransomware attacks involve malware that infects the victim’s network and encrypts data. Whereas ransom DDoS attacks usually do not involve network breaches. Instead, the attackers flood the target network with malicious traffic.
- Modern ransomware attacks often involve stealing data before encryption. Ransom DoS attackers, however, may not involve such tactics. Nonetheless, they can always opt to couple these additional attacks with the usual DoS for worsening the victim’s situation.
- Ransomware attacks have no specific duration. They happen very quickly and impart long-lasting effects unless adequately remedied. On the other hand, ransom DoS attacks are short-lived, and can be fended off easily.
- Ransomware attacks may cause permanent data loss and network damage, unless the victim pays the ransom and/or restores data from the backups. But ransom DoS is not as severe, and usually inflict no serious damages besides rendering the network temporarily offline.
How to Prevent Such Attacks?
Although, ransom DDoS and ransomware DDoS attacks are nightmarishly dangerous for any organization, businesses can prevent such attacks by implementing essential cybersecurity best practices.
One strategy to prevent such attacks is using a robust web application firewall from a reputable service provider like Indusface. With robust WAFs in place, businesses can help avoid ransomware exploits.
In addition, businesses can also seek security services from such firms, like network protection, vulnerability scanning, and cloud security, to ensure vulnerable endpoints are patched. The key to preventing data loss is to maintain up-to-date data backups on online and offline systems for efficient data recovery.