Maze ransomware attacks relate to malware targeting various organizations. We know that Maze likely operates via an interconnected network. There, Maze developers distribute their proceeds with different groups that deploy Maze in organizational networks.
Usually, what we need to be concerned with in executive protection are physical attacks and intrusions. Yet, there is so much more that can and will go wrong, especially if you are heading a company. One of those things is Maze ransomware attacks.
We need to firstly find out what these attacks are before we can combat them.
Maze got its name because it’s challenging to track the endless number of paths taken through the computer code.
Apart from penetrating your organization’s network, Maze operators usually take advantage of assets in one network to move laterally to other networks. In case the attacked company is an IT services provides, it’s likely that the outbreak spreads to hundreds of customers.
Although you need to know how to code to protect your company personally, hiring companies to do that for you is a better option. It’s pretty cheap and lets you sleep well at night.
How it Gets Into Your Company System
There are many ways how Maze ransomware accesses your system without you realizing it at first. The most frequent attacks happen through standard methodologies, like guessing default or weak passwords. Also, they can employ spear-phishing via email containing a .docx attachment with a malicious macro. Macros are bits of computer code and can be transmitters for malware.
As soon as attackers compromise an initial machine in the network, the malware begins scanning to locate vulnerabilities. If you protected your company well, they can’t get through very quickly. But if not, they will attempt to get to your permissions, accounts, and domain trusts.
As time passes, the malware starts moving laterally in your network. It scans through the compromised machines to find files with plaintext passwords. If this doesn’t work, it attempts to find weak passwords by brute-forcing user or service accounts. A brute-force attack consists of submitting numerous passwords or passphrases with the hope of guessing the right combination.
Of course, that’s not all it does. It also utilizes other techniques, such as LLMNR/NBT-NS Poisoning, to steal network packets. Additionally, as soon as the malware finds a valid credential, it uses known Windows interfaces. These include SMB, WinRM, and RDP and serve to move laterally and execute code on remote machines.
The perfect Trojan horse, some would say.
The intruders want to maintain their presence in the network for as long as possible. They impose backdoors and ways to retake control. Operators are intelligent beings, so they try to compromise the system a second time if someone detects or removes their malware.
Finally, remember that ransomware attacks are called that for a reason. Criminals use them to extort money. And there are a lot of things people are prepared to do for money.
Prevent It From Getting In
Unfamiliar USBs and clicking on unverified links could be the leading cause of Maze ransomware invading your networks. Luckily, there are some easy techniques you can use to stop them from infecting your company.
Remember that message Google displays in your Gmail account every time somebody suspicious sends you an email? Well, that’s what they are trying to protect us from ― malicious software. It could get into your network through an email attachment. Simply don’t engage with attachments from senders you know nothing about.
Repeat after us: I will always first check who the email is from and establish that the email address is correct.
As soon as you verify these two steps, you eliminate about 90% probability of getting infected. If an attachment doesn’t look genuine, then it probably isn’t. Worst case scenario, call the person from who the email is supposed to be. Double-check with them if they recently sent you an email.
Some temptations are difficult to resist. And downloading free content is one of them. Maze ransomware attackers are well aware of that. For this reason, they try to get you to download software and media files from unknown websites. If the site uses ‘http’ instead of ‘https,’ then you might be in danger.
As technology evolves, so do attackers. They find glitches in the system and try to implement a breach. Fortunately, web developers and tech companies are continually upping their game. They regularly improve the software and apps and are always two steps ahead of their malicious adversaries.
That’s why you must update your software and operating system whenever an update is due. Your naggy computer or smartphone might never stop asking you to get the latest version. And that’s a good thing. When you upgrade, you benefit from the latest security patches. That prevents cybercriminals from exploiting vulnerabilities in your system.
What to Do If It Gets In Anyway
If any of this happens and you find yourself between a rock and a hard place, here are a few suggestions.
Never pay the ransom they are asking from you. Cybercriminals will ask you for a ton of money but don’t pay them a dime. Think of it this way: If you pay the money, there is no guarantee they will return your data. If you let them push you around and make the payment, you encourage them to repeat this behavior.
Quarantine your computer at all costs. If you find out that you are under attack, quickly disconnect from any networks and the internet. The ransomware infection won’t have a chance to spread to other computers. The sooner you find out about the attack, the smaller the damage they inflict.
Last but not least, back up your data. If a Maze ransomware attack hits you hard, ensure you backed up all your files safely. That way, you are mostly protected from data loss. And the attackers can’t ask you for money, so they give you back your files. Although it looks like a Pyrrhic victory, it’s better than them getting away with all your valuable information.
Don’t forget that you can always use the following simple steps to prevent or minimize Maze ransomware attacks:
- Look for weak passwords,
- Limit account privileges,
- Detect stealthy admins, and
- Enforce adaptive authentication.
All this can help you live a carefree life and never worry again about cybercriminals damaging your company’s networks ― and livelihoods.