Encryption-less Extortion is a rising cybersecurity threat.

For businesses dealing with the constant threat of devastating ransomware attacks, a new menace is gaining traction: encryption-less extortion. This method of cyberattack, unlike traditional ransomware, doesn’t rely on encrypting the victim’s data. 

Instead, it threatens to leak sensitive information unless a ransom is paid, prioritizing data exfiltration over disruptive encryption techniques. This tactic has given rise to numerous concerns within the cybersecurity community, as it represents a significant shift in the approach cybercriminals are taking.

In this article we’ll take a closer look at encryption-less extortion, with a view to offering you the best way to stay protected against such attacks. 

Understanding Encryption-less Extortion

Encryption-less extortion, as the name suggests, doesn’t involve the encryption of data. Traditional ransomware attacks work by locking access to the victim’s data and demanding payment for the decryption key. 

In contrast, encryption-less extortion focuses on exfiltrating sensitive data and threatening its release. This method can be equally, if not more, damaging, as it can lead to the exposure of confidential information, causing reputational damage and regulatory repercussions.

Cybersecurity gangs, often working with a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model, can avoid numerous elements that tripped them up in the past:

How It Works

The process typically involves hackers gaining unauthorized access to an organization’s network and extracting sensitive data. 

Once they have what they need, they contact the organization, providing proof of the data breach and demanding a ransom to prevent the release of the information. It’s a straightforward yet highly effective form of digital blackmail.

The Impact of Encryption-less Extortion

The impact of encryption-less extortion can be far-reaching. For businesses, the threat of having confidential data exposed can lead to a loss of customer trust, legal challenges, and significant financial losses. For individuals, such exposure can mean a loss of privacy and personal security.

The impact of extortion without encryption is more significant than many imagine, and it’s crucial to emphasize the expectations placed on the security team in such scenarios. They are required to precisely identify what data the attackers have leaked. If the security team is unable to determine the extent of the leak, their next step involves disconnecting all users from the internet to initiate an investigation. This process can be lengthy, potentially taking weeks, during which employees are unable to work. The repercussions of this downtime are extensive, leading to considerable damage to the organization.

Why It’s Effective

This type of extortion is effective because it preys on the fear of public exposure. The possibility of having sensitive data leaked is often enough to compel victims to pay the ransom, even if it’s against law enforcement advice. Moreover, because there’s no need to decrypt data, the process is faster and simpler for attackers, making it an attractive alternative to traditional ransomware.

Combatting Encryption-less Extortion

Addressing encryption-less extortion requires a multifaceted approach. Organizations must strengthen their cybersecurity defenses to prevent breaches in the first place. This includes regular security audits, employee training, and the implementation of robust cybersecurity protocols.

Best Practices

The Future of Encryption-less Extortion

As with any form of cyber threat, it’s likely that encryption-less extortion will continue to evolve. Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, and as defenses against traditional ransomware improve, attackers will increasingly turn to alternative methods like encryption-less extortion.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

Staying ahead of these threats requires constant vigilance and adaptation. Organizations must keep abreast of the latest cybersecurity trends and threats and continuously update their security measures accordingly.

How ITsMine Keeps You Protected Against Encryption-less Extortion

ITsMine’s purpose-built solution is the perfect way to prevent the impact of an encryption-less ransomware attack. When it comes to such an attack, the main issue is control over your data. 

ITsMine is the only solution that will keep you in control:

All of this means that encryption-less ransomware has met its match thanks to ITsMine.

Get in touch with ITsMine today to quickly and effortlessly get set up, and sleep easy knowing that you have the threat of encryption-less ransomware covered. 


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