Ransomware has Evolved— ‘Doxware’ is the Latest Breed!

Doxware has added a malicious twist to ransomware attacks. As the threat of ransomware continues to evolve, with a new spin on extortionware, called doxware. It is primarily designed to target and potentially expose sensitive data of ransomware victims. Well, we can say that doxware is cross between the now-rampant malware variant called ransomware. Doxware harvests information from a victim’s computer and threatens to publish it to contacts in their address book or publicly on the web.

What does doxware Comprises of?

Let’s understand it in a more simplified form. Doxware is actually based on the word “Dox” which means involves a practice of publishing private content of an individual on the internet with a malicious intent. It can involve personal information about people can include real name, known aliases, address, phone number, SSN, credit card number anything. So if a person is “doxed”, all their personal information is made available for all users to see. This is how the concept of Doxware ransomware has been evolved.

On the contrary, Doxware isn’t without risks to the attacker. As publishing files on the open web requires an access to servers or public file-sharing accounts which may be traceable. However, attackers most likely figure out workarounds for these vulnerabilities.

Is Doxware a new approach to Extortionware?

The traditional methods of Doxing focused on targeted attacks, in which the attacker used to research and individual. However, Doxware focuses on ransomware model of mass-target phishing attacks, but in addition to encrypting data and extorting payment to get the key, the attackers now exfiltrate the data and look through it for possible doxing targets.

It’s Going to Get Worse!

More criminals are expected to shift to ransomware in the coming year because they can now buy ready-made ransomware software from super hackers. These toolkits have ensured that anyone with a basic knowledge of computers can now launch a sophisticated attack. The menace will also grow as new variants of this malicious software are developed that do more than simply encrypt the data. Once the malware can infiltrate mobile devices, the threat will become even more pervasive, with text messages, photos, and data from apps at risk for being leaked. As the doxware threat evolves and a broader range of devices, users, and data are targeted, it’s critical for companies and individuals to always keep data security front of mind.

To avoid ransomware attacks, ensure all systems and software is up to date and protect your network with as many layers of security as your budget allows. In addition to this try to encrypt all files and data on a backup machine. And as we always remind you don’t click on any suspicious link until and unless you are absolutely sure that the source is legitimate.

Doxware is the latest form of ransomware which has all the potential to dominate users in 2017. However, the new threat tactics aren’t without their downside. Doxware is still relatively rare in the wild as so far it has only been seen on Windows computers – but some researchers are predicting that it’s evidence of a scary evolution of ransomware into more intrusive and damaging forms—way beyond our imagination!

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