Data Encrypted for Impact
Adversaries may encrypt data on target systems or on large numbers of systems in a network to interrupt availability to system and network resources. They can attempt to render stored data inaccessible by encrypting files or data on local and remote drives and withholding access to a decryption key. This may be done in order to extract monetary compensation from a victim in exchange for decryption or a decryption key (ransomware) or to render data permanently inaccessible in cases where the key is not saved or transmitted. In the case of ransomware, it is typical that common user files like Office documents, PDFs, images, videos, audio, text, and source code files will be encrypted. In some cases, adversaries may encrypt critical system files, disk partitions, and the MBR.
To maximize impact on the target organization, malware designed for encrypting data may have worm-like features to propagate across a network by leveraging other attack techniques like Valid Accounts, Credential Dumping, and Windows Admin Shares.
Consider implementing IT disaster recovery plans that contain procedures for regularly taking and testing data backups that can be used to restore organizational data. Ensure backups are stored off system and is protected from common methods adversaries may use to gain access and destroy the backups to prevent recovery.
Use process monitoring to monitor the execution and command line parameters of of binaries involved in data destruction activity, such as vssadmin, wbadmin, and bcdedit. Monitor for the creation of suspicious files as well as unusual file modification activity. In particular, look for large quantities of file modifications in user directories.
In some cases, monitoring for unusual kernel driver installation activity can aid in detection.
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