The Royal Ransomware, a cyber threat that first made its appearance in January 2022, has evolved into a significant player in the world of cybercrime. Since September 2022, the threat group behind this ransomware has been compromising U.S. and international organizations, causing widespread concern and damage. Researchers believe that the Royal Ransomware evolved from earlier iterations that used “Zeon” as a loader, utilizing its custom-made file encryption program for attacks.

Rapid Expansion and Tactics

The Royal Ransomware group gained momentum and increased its activity from September 2022, becoming a dangerous and widespread threat. Its rapid spread can be attributed to its takeover as the leading ransomware in November 2022, surpassing the LockBit ransomware in terms of victim count. The group’s tactics include:

  • Using malicious attachments to distribute the malware
  • Employing malicious advertisements for malware distribution
  • Engaging in callback phishing and social engineering tactics

As a Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) operation, the Royal Ransomware has been able to quickly gain a foothold in the cybercrime world. The group behind the ransomware is known to taunt its victims and boasts an active Twitter account, “LockerRoyal,” where they announce compromised victims and occasionally respond to their own announcements.

Anatomy of a Royal Ransomware Attack

The Royal Ransomware operation employs a variety of unusual techniques to breach networks before encrypting them with malware and demanding ransom payments. Here’s a closer look at the steps involved in a typical Royal Ransomware attack:

  1. Infection: The ransomware can infiltrate a victim’s environment through multiple vectors, such as malicious attachments or advertisements.
  2. Encryption: Once inside the network, the ransomware encrypts the victim’s data using its custom-made file encryption program.
  3. Extortion: The threat actors then demand a ransom from the victim, usually in the form of cryptocurrency, to restore access to the encrypted files.

The group has been known to target corporations with ransom demands ranging from $250,000 to over $2 million, demonstrating their ambition and ruthlessness.

How to Defend Against Royal Ransomware

Protecting your organization from the Royal Ransomware requires a combination of preventive measures and robust security infrastructure. Here are some tips to help you defend against this dangerous threat:

  • Regularly update software and systems: Keep all software and systems up to date with the latest patches and security updates to minimize vulnerabilities that can be exploited by ransomware.
  • Implement strong access controls: Use strong, unique passwords and enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts to make it more difficult for threat actors to gain unauthorized access.
  • Educate employees: Train employees to recognize phishing attempts, malicious attachments, and other social engineering tactics used by ransomware operators.
  • Regularly back up data: Maintain regular backups of important data and store them offline or in a separate, secure location to ensure quick recovery in case of a ransomware attack.
  • Deploy advanced security solutions: Implement advanced threat detection and response tools to identify and mitigate ransomware attacks in their early stages.

By following these steps, organizations can minimize the risks associated with Royal Ransomware and better protect their data and networks.

In Conclusion

The Royal Ransomware has quickly become a force to be reckoned with in the world of cybercrime. Its rapid expansion, unique tactics, and ruthless extortion methods have

made it a significant threat to organizations worldwide. As cybercriminals continue to innovate and develop more sophisticated forms of ransomware, it is crucial for businesses and individuals to stay informed and implement comprehensive security measures to defend against these attacks.

By understanding the anatomy of a Royal Ransomware attack and taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity, organizations can better protect themselves from the devastating consequences of falling victim to this dangerous cyber threat. Stay vigilant, educate your employees, and invest in robust security infrastructure to give your organization the best chance of avoiding the grip of Royal Ransomware.