The Future of Ransomware: An In-Depth Look at the Threat Landscape

ransomware attacks
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The future of ransomware is a constantly evolving as the IT landscape grows increasingly more complex. New threats and attack methods are constantly cropping up giving no time for businesses to catchup. The proliferation of ransomware attacks in recent years has had a significant impact on organizations regardless of their size, enterprise or SMB. Some paying millions of dollars in ransom demands in order to regain access to their critical data.

Through this article, you will get in-depth look at the current state of ransomware, what is expected come, and how to defend your business. This includes the motivations behind ransomware attacks, the tactics used by hackers, and the best practices for protecting against them.

Understanding the Motivations Behind Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware motivations

At its core, ransomware is a type of cyber attack in which the attacker encrypts a victim’s files and demands payment in exchange for the decryption key. In many cases, the primary motivation behind these attacks is financial gain, with hackers seeking to extract as much money as possible from their victims. It also should be noted, there is also no guarantee that once the ransom is paid, that the attackers will give your organization the decryption key.

There are other motivations behind ransomware attacks as well. Ransomware can also be used for political and ideological motivations, as well as to disrupt and damage a target organization when considering rival businesses.

The Tactics Used by Hackers


Although there are many different attacks being developed year on year, they are usually improvements to already very successful methods. Some of these tactics are very well established however, the approaches have become more sophisticated and harder to spot. Below are the most common of these methods that have grown throughout the years and what businesses should look out for:

Phishing emails: Hackers often use phishing emails to gain access to an organization’s network and spread the ransomware. Every year it is harder to stop all phishing emails due to the many different evasion methods that have been developed over the years.

Exploits: Hackers may also take advantage of vulnerabilities in software and systems to gain access to a target network and install the ransomware. This is even more so when zero-day threats are announced, its even worse when advisories to these vulnerabilities are too late to stop attacks.

Social engineering: In some cases, hackers may use social engineering tactics such as phone calls or in-person visits to gain access to an organization’s network. Advancement in AI technology has made this even more convincing as conversations generated by AI programs sound more convincing as time goes by.

Best Practices for Protecting Against Ransomware

Best Practices

Given the increasing threat posed by ransomware attacks, it is critical for organizations to take steps to protect themselves. Some of the best practices for protecting against ransomware include:

Regular backups: Regular backups of critical data can help to minimize the impact of a ransomware attack by allowing organizations to quickly recover their data without paying a ransom. Backup solutions such as Datto help businesses recover data quickly with its Managed Services focused data recovery.

Cybersecurity awareness training: Employees can be a major weakness in an organization’s security posture, and cybersecurity awareness training can help to reduce the risk of successful attacks.

Keep software and systems up to date: Regularly applying software updates and patches can help to close vulnerabilities that could be exploited by attackers. However, we know that there are times where not all businesses have the luxury to update live servers. This is where security solutions like Trend Micro can help. With its Virtual patching, you business can put a safety measure against exploits trying to use security vulnerabilities to get into your network. Giving you more time to plan when you can implement the latest patch.

Implement multi-factor authentication: Multifactor authentication can add an extra layer of security to an organization’s systems, making it more difficult for attackers to gain access. RSA’s MFA solutions can help stop bad actors from using stolen credentials from getting into your network legitimately through its use of various authentication methods.

Use anti-virus software: Anti-virus software can help to detect and prevent ransomware infections, as well as other types of malware.

The future of ransomware is a constantly evolving threat landscape, and organizations must take steps to protect themselves against these attacks. By following best practices such as regular backups, cybersecurity awareness training, and keeping software and systems up-to-date, organizations can minimize the risk of a successful ransomware attack.

To learn more about ransomware attacks and security solutions for them, you may contact us at and we would be happy to schedule a meeting with you!

Security Advisory: ESXiARGS Ransomware for Older VMware Patches

ESXiARGS featured
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To all VMware ESXi server users, we would like to spread awareness that businesses currently using older patches of ESXi are at risk of being hit by new ransomware attack, ESXiARGS. The ransomware attack specifically targets vulnerabilities within the older ESXi patches to easily infiltrate your system. If your business is currently using the following versions, we strongly urge you to update:

  • ESXi versions 7.x prior to ESXi70U1c-17325551
  • ESXi versions 6.7.x prior to ESXi670-202102401-SG
  • ESXi versions 6.5.x prior to ESXi650-202102101-SG

What is ESXiARGS Ransomware?

ESXiARGS ransomware definition

ESXiARGS is a type of ransomware that targets virtual machines running on VMware vSphere infrastructure. The ransomware is designed to encrypt all of the virtual machines on a target’s network, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid. Unfortunately, paying the ransom doesn’t guarantee that the attacker will give you the decryption key.

How ESXiARGS Ransomware Works

ransomware how it works

ESXiARGS ransomware works by exploiting vulnerabilities in the VMware vSphere infrastructure. Once the attackers gain access to the virtual machines, they install the ransomware, which encrypts all of the data on the virtual machines. The attackers then demand payment in exchange for the decryption key, which will allow the victim to regain access to their data.

Protecting Your Business from ESXiARGS Ransomware

ESXiARGS defense

In the event that you are unable to update immediately, there are several steps you can take to protect your business from ESXiARGS in the meantime. First and foremost, it is important to keep your systems up to date with the latest security patches and updates. Additionally, you should implement a strong password policy and ensure that all employees are trained on cybersecurity best practices. Regular backups of your data can also help you to recover quickly in the event of a ransomware attack.

Responding to an ESXiARGS Ransomware Attack

business safety

In the unfortunate event that your business is targeted by an ESXiARGS ransomware attack, it is important to have a plan in place to respond. Your first step should be to isolate the infected systems to prevent the ransomware from spreading further. Then, you should contact law enforcement and a cybersecurity expert to help you to recover your data and regain control of your systems.

ESXiARGS ransomware attacks are a serious threat to businesses of all sizes. The above suggestions can help you lessen the risk of infection of ESXiARGS but will not ensure your business’ safety. Again the best way to ensure your business’ security is to update your VMware ESXi version to the latest patch. We once again implore you to plan your update as soon as possible.

Contact us at if you would like to consult us on your VMware update and measures to take before the update.

Protecting Against Ransomware in Hospitals and its Medical Devices

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ransomware medical devices

Ransomware attacks have grown to a point where it is no longer just known to the IT industry, but also in the mainstream. Ransomware attacks have risen over the past years, from consumers to even specialized industries like healthcare. It can cause sudden loss of data if threat actors choose to keep stolen data encrypted. Another overlooked risk is the disruption of services that the affected experience during an attack. This is even more critical for specialized services like healthcare which handle the lives of its patients.

Healthcare organizations like hospitals rely heavily on computer systems to run their operations. Threat actors know that any disruption to this system can heavily affect the care given to their patients. With lives at stake, the affected healthcare organization has no choice but to pay even if they don’t have the resources. Attackers even go the extra step to research what the absolute limit of ransom an organization can pay.

2019 had an incident where a facility in the US was hit by ransomware. This incident disabled the organizations access to patient records and medical devices. This was a case where unfortunately, due to the medical systems being down, a life of a baby was lost.

While there is no foolproof way to prevent ransomware attacks, there are ways to lessen the risk. This comes in the form of a multitude of IT security solutions that can help detect the attacks or even backup solutions that can help restore data before the attack. However, Operational Technology (OT) like medical devices also need to be considered as it is a lesser-known entry point.

This is where solutions like Trend Micro’s TXOne solutions can help the healthcare industry.

TXOne to Secure OT

Ransomware in Hospitals preview

The security experts at Trend Micro have done the research for you. From the industry standards to hospital processes, they know where the security vulnerabilities lie and created a solution that complements it. Below are a few ways in which TXOne can help healthcare’s OT security:

  • Effective network segmentation, virtual patch (IPS) and network containment through robust network appliances, preventing ransomware propagation
  • Granular control over healthcare protocols with support for 50+ variant IT and OT protocols for hospital network access control (HL7, DICOM, Modbus and more)
  • Lock down mission-critical endpoint assets using whitelisting technology, immunizing your system to ransomware
  • Quickly and conveniently remove ransomware via our plug-and-scan USB technology
  • Provide central and individual management options perfectly suited to different management roles

To learn more on how to better protect your business from ransomware, you can email us at!

Ransomware attack causes a US Telemarketing Company to shutdown before the Holidays

Ransomware attack causes a US Telemarketing Company to shutdown before the Holidays

Last year before the holidays, an Arkansas-based telemarketing firm was hit by ransomware.  Their employees at the time didn’t even know they were hit by it, however they felt the repercussions of the attack.  More than 300 employees were sent back to their homes and told that it would be best to try looking for another job as a worst-case scenario if they are unable to recover their data.

The attack that happened on October 2019, forced the CEO of the company to send a letter informing their employees of the situation.

“Unfortunately, approximately two months ago our Heritage servers were attacked by malicious software that basically ‘held us hostage for ransom’ and we were forced to pay the crooks to get the ‘key’ just to get our systems back up and running,” wrote Sandra Franecke, the company’s CEO, in the letter sent to employees.

With the initial recovery plan failing, it was estimated to only take 1 week, management decided to suspend operations while the process is ongoing.  However, many of the 300 employees are doubtful that the company will be able to survive this situation.

This situation is not as uncommon as you would think it is.  In the last few years, many other companies have decided that a ransomware attack was too costly for them to recover and ended up shutting operations down.  One example would be a Medical practice in Michigan opting to end their operations 1 year earlier than planned rather then deal with the fallout of a ransomware infection.

Situations like this could have been avoided given that they were able to:

  1. Have proper security measures implemented to detect and isolate suspicious files
  2. Had their data recovery plan regularly tested or had on implemented in the first place.

If you would like to learn how we at CT Link Systems, Inc. can help you company better secure your IT environment or even ensure that you have a good BCDR plan in place, Contact us at 8935 9515 and we would be happy to help you!

Ransomware Lunch & Learn With Cisco!

Ransomware Lunch & Learn With Cisco!

Ransomware is becoming more prevalent now as more companies are starting to have their networks infected with these disruptive malware.  With this in mind, Cisco has been improving their security portfolio to keep your IT infrastructure same from these malicious malware attacks.  Learn more about it from our Cisco experts on July 17, 2018 at Discovery Primea at our Ransomware Lunch & Learn event!  Get a chance to win a Smart TV and other goodies as well as you learn more about how you can stay safe from ransomware attacks.  To learn more about the event or how to register for it, please contact us at 893-9515!

About Cisco

Cisco is a multinational technology corporation that specializes in networking and communication technologies. The company is headquartered in San Jose, California, and has offices and operations in over 100 countries worldwide.

Founded in 1984, Cisco has become a leading provider of networking equipment and solutions for businesses and organizations of all sizes. The company’s products and services include routers, switches, wireless access points, security solutions, collaboration tools, and software-defined networking solutions.

Cisco’s networking solutions enable businesses to connect their devices, applications, and data across local and wide-area networks, as well as the internet. The company’s products are designed to provide fast, reliable, and secure connectivity, with features such as Quality of Service (QoS), network segmentation, and advanced security protocols.

In addition to its hardware products, Cisco also offers a range of software solutions for network management, security, and collaboration. The company’s software-defined networking solutions provide a flexible and scalable approach to network management, enabling businesses to easily configure and manage their networks through a centralized dashboard.

Cisco’s collaboration tools enable teams to work together more effectively, with features such as video conferencing, messaging, and file sharing. The company’s security solutions provide protection against cyber threats, with features such as firewalls, intrusion prevention systems, and endpoint protection.

Server Security: Ransomware & Advanced Attacks

Server Security: Ransomware & Advanced Attacks

Business IT environments are now at bigger risks as more and more malware, such as Ransomware, are becoming more sophisticated.  The results of malware gaining access to your IT environment could lead to as much as disruption of your business operations – mainly your service, productivity, and more importantly – your reputation.  Cyber criminals do this through business process compromise (BPC), halting your access to business critical applications and data which can last for days if not months..

Contrary to common belief that cyber threats are an endpoint issue, ransomware and other advanced attacks are also focused on your servers.  Servers are high value easy targets for cybercriminals due to the combination of readily available infrastructure via the public cloud and the increased speed of application delivery to create competitive advantage.  Server and endpoint security hugely differ in the sense that the applications and operating systems that run enterprise workloads in the data center, in the cloud and even in containers can be extremely dynamic.

Fundamentals DO matter – Patching

As servers are the driving force that pushes any business forward, tasked with housing your most valuable data, it is only natural that cybercriminals would start targeting it – whether it’s on premise or in the cloud.  Cybercriminals will take advantage of vulnerabilities found on your servers. A good example of this is the recent WannaCry Ransomware attack a few weeks ago which leveraged on a Microsoft Windows SMB vulnerability to inject itself onto servers and endpoints.  OS Patching is the best solution to these as to prevent the attack from executing. However, there are many reasons why servers are left unpatched one of which is server downtime.  It is estimated that enterprise firms take an average of 250 days for their IT (205 days for retail businesses) to fix the software flaws in their enterprise applications.

Layered Security

Hybrid Cloud infrastructures are complex, and these complexities can have gaps which can be exploited.  So what can be done to prevent situations such as compromised endpoints accessing a vulnerable file server?  Here is where advanced server security solutions such as Trend Micro Deep Security comes in.  Designed to protect workloads across physical, virtual, cloud and container environments with host-based security to shield servers from a wide range of threats.  With its range of cross generational security techniques, it will be able to enable you to easily:

  • Stop network attacks and shield vulnerable applications & servers, leveraging Intrusion Prevention (IDS/IPS) and firewall techniques;
  • Lock down systems and detect suspicious activity on servers, using techniques like application control and integrity monitoring that have been optimized for the hybrid cloud; and
  • Prevent malware and targeted attacks from successfully infiltrating your servers, leveraging proven anti-malware and advance techniques like behavioral analysis & sandboxing

Learn more about Trend Micro Products from our product page here!


An Advisory from CT Link Systems, Inc. for WannaCry Ransomware Attacks

An Advisory from CT Link Systems, Inc. for WannaCry Ransomware Attacks

You may have heard over the weekend of the recent attacks of ransomware called WannaCry, which has targeted almost 200,000 computers across 150 countries.  While a killswitch has been found to help lessen the spread of WannaCry, many still believe that a new strain of WannaCry will soon come out which will bypass this quick fix.

Microsoft has released its statement on this issue while also providing its customers the solution to prevent the malicious software from affecting you, installing the security update MS17-010  and more recently they released security patches for older operating systems such as XP which can be found on this link.  However, for those of our current Trend Micro users who cannot update their patches as soon as possible we have work arounds in which you can do in the meantime.  Below are the products of Trend Micro that can be used to prevent the attacks (please make sure to follow the correct patch or pattern for the product):

For our clients who are not using Trend Micro, we strongly urge you to patch your Windows with MS17-010 (for versions such as XP please refer to this link).  For any questions or inquiries you have with regards to ransomware or how you can protect you system, please contact us at 893 9515 and we will be happy to help!

About CT Link

CT Link Systems, Inc. is a premier IT Solutions provider based in the Philippines. We are dedicated to delivering innovative solutions that meet the evolving needs of our clients. Our goal is to be your “Link to Cloud Technology” for businesses looking to improve their digital capabilities. Our solutions include multilevel security, hybrid cloud, and workspace solutions. Established in 1998, CT Link has built a reputation as a reliable partner for companies seeking a competitive advantage.

We work with leading international vendors to offer the latest and most cost-effective solutions. Our engineers are highly skilled and trained, providing expert planning, implementation, and support services. At CT Link Systems, Inc., we understand the importance of technology and the role it plays in driving business success. That’s why we heavily invest in product training and certification for our engineers, ensuring they have the knowledge and expertise to deliver the best possible outcomes. Whether you need help with security, cloud migration, or other IT challenges, we are confident that we can be your trusted technology partner.

Is Your Business Automatically Backing Up the Data in Your PCs and Laptops?

Is Your Business Automatically Backing Up the Data in Your PCs and Laptops?

Studies show that 70% of corporate data resides on the PCs or laptops of end-users and most of these files are unstructured data in the form of Excel spreadsheets or Word documents.  Furthermore, studies also show that in most businesses, employees are casually told to make a backup of their own files. Management cannot even be sure if the backups are up-to-date or done at all.  The primary reason for such case is usually the lack of a centralized storage, which is expensive to set up, to store the data backups.

This leniency in doing data backup has become more and more risky these days with increasing threats from malwares like Ransomware.

What is Ransomware?

In a nutshell, Ransomware is a new type of malware that “kidnaps” files and prevents users from accessing the files until “ransom” is given.

Most users think that it’s just malware, and that their anti-virus software will be able to catch it.  However, not all anti-virus software are effective against ransomware.  The real best defense against Ransomware today is, simply and ironically, for one to be always ensured with a data backup that can be successfully restored when needed.

Cloud-Based Backup

A good backup strategy in protecting against Ransomware is cloud-based data backup.

  • Cloud-based backup provides plenty of storage at a low cost.
  • Cloud-based backup allows customers to pay only for the actual backup storage being used instead of buying a lot of storage in advance.
  • Cloud-based backup works even if laptop users are outside the corporate network.
  • Cloud-based backup gives an added level of protection against Ransomware since affected files usually take days or even weeks before getting into the cloud.

Be enabled. Deploy and secure endpoint data protection strategy at your own pace.

We offer simple and reliable cloud-integrated backup as a service, reliably powered by Microsoft Azure.

Let CT Link Systems be your backup partner.