emotet ransomware illustrated by someone handoing money to someone else with a key.

by Matt Solomon

A Jump in Emotet Ransomware Attacks Calls for Increased Ransomware Protection


Ransomware is a constant menace to cybersecurity teams. As phishing danger skyrocketed, ransomware attacks grew by nearly 150% in 2020, bringing everything from data theft to operations shutdowns in its wake. That trend looks set to continue in 2021. Even cybercriminals are working harder these days and they’re making the most out of resources like the Emotet ransomware botnet to dramatically ramp up operations.

Half of all damaging cybersecurity incidents involve ransomware. Attackers have been increasingly trending toward disrupting operations by holding systems hostage rather than just stealing data, but that’s not totally out of fashion. By using sophisticated botnets like Emotet ransomware gangs can efficiently get their poisonous cargo out to many targets fast.


A Match Made in Cybercrime Heaven


A sporadically used resource, Emotet started its career as a banking trojan but eventually evolved to become a partner and robust delivery system for Dark Web based cybercrime, including TrickBot and QakBot. Emotet is known for forming partnerships with large ransomware gangs to wreak havoc, including forming an essential pillar of a cybercrime spree that included the Ryuk and TrickBot ransomware gangs in 2018.

Detected attacks for Emotet suddenly exploded by 1200% between Q2 and Q3 2020, alarming analysts. Recent reporting suggests that Emotet is pumping out new socially engineered messages packing malignant payloads aimed at 100,000 targets per day in several languages. Experts say that it’s currently using lures featuring COVID-19 varieties engaged including thread hijacking with Word attachments, password-protected zips and URLs.

Constant evolutions in messaging, operations and payloads can make pitfalls like Emotet ransomware bombs harder to spot and stop. Threat actors are choosing tempting messages including COVID-19 themed emails and fake error messages in order to persuade victims to download malware. The botnet was last noted to be this active before the US elections in October 2020, and regularly goes live and dark in phases.


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Money Moves by Ransomware Gangs Are Bad for Business


This increase in activity can be partially attributed to an increase in ransomware payments. Cybercrime gangs are enjoying higher revenue across the board, including a 60% rise in ransomware payments on average worldwide, and they’re pushing their operations in every section of the – targets in Australia and Japan made up  32% and 20% of recipients respectively.

Protecting your business from dangers like Emotet ransomware deliveries starts with protecting your business from phishing. The most common delivery system for ransomware, phishing is at the root of 90% of cybersecurity incidents that end in a data breach. Fortunately, BullPhish ID has been freshly updated and upgraded to provide a smooth, efficient and effective training experience for everyone involved. You’ll love:

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