Keep The Ransomware Threat At Bay With SASE

Keep The Ransomware Threat At Bay With SASE

Ransomware is now considered one of the biggest cyber threats of all. Considering how many companies and government agencies have fallen victim to cyber extortion over the past 12 months, it is clear that it can affect anyone. It is only a matter of time before ransomware attackers target you. SASE technology is also increasingly important in successfully defending against them.

Stages In The Ransomware Life Cycle

One reason ransomware remains challenging to defend against is the different ways they operate. Thus, each strain of ransomware has its way of penetrating and navigating a network, gaining access to resources, and exfiltrating data. Nevertheless, one can define five main phases in the life cycle of ransomware. 

The crucial one is the initial infiltration phase, in which the ransomware tries to gain a foothold somewhere in the network or on one of the computers. If this infiltration is successful, the ransomware can usually move on to the next phase without any problems. 

In this, she tries to expand her rights step by step and collect login information with which she can move laterally in the network. In its third phase, the ransomware will attempt to scout the network to locate the most valuable resources. This is followed by communicating with a command-and-control server to receive more commands and download more tools to penetrate the network even more extensively and compromise it. 

Eventually, the lifecycle ends with the exfiltration and encryption of files, allowing attackers to demand ransom.

Of course, an attack does not necessarily have to occur in this order. Instead, after the initial compromise of a machine, the malware can immediately contact a command and control server to download the next stage of an attack.

This Is How The Attackers Get Into The Systems

Victims’ systems are often accessed via security vulnerabilities, such as the Log4j vulnerability, which made headlines worldwide because millions of devices were affected, and it doesn’t take much skill or skill to exploit. 

A rogue ransomware strain called Khonsari quickly recognized the potential of this vulnerability and immediately started abusing it to infiltrate machines and install ransomware. And ProxyLogon, a chain of vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange servers, is also a popular entry point for cyber extortionists. For example, the well-known DearCry ransomware spread to various companies via this vulnerability. Other types of ransomware, such as Try2Cry,

Encryption + Exfiltration = Worst Case

Once the malware has installed itself on a network, it will do everything possible to achieve the highest level of privilege escalation: access to valuable and blackmailable data. This is where the ransomware endgame begins and, for the victims, the worst-case scenario. Because in addition to encrypting the data with a subsequent ransom demand, the affected companies are also threatened with exfiltration of data. It is not uncommon for ransomware to exfiltrate files from infected computers before it encrypts them. 

For the companies affected, this means that sensitive data such as personal information or intellectual property has fallen into the hands of criminals. Even paying the demanded ransom and the subsequent decryption of the files cannot change this. Another possibility would be blackmail with the threat of publishing or selling sensitive content. Once infected, the companies are at the mercy of cybercriminals because nobody can guarantee whether the necessary decryption tools will be provided after payment or whether exfiltrated data will remain secret in the long term.

Network-Based Ransomware Protection Thanks To SASE

Identifying, containing, and defending against ransomware requires a comprehensive security strategy, including network management. An innovative approach that integrates advanced security and network services in one solution is Secure Access Service Edge (SASE). It enables IT teams to create a more resilient, reliable, and trusted network infrastructure to operate efficiently and securely while serving users optimally. 

Advanced SASE solutions protect companies through tight integration of security services such as VPN, Secure SD-WAN, Edge Compute Protection, Next-Generation Firewall, Next-Generation Firewall as a Service, Secure Web Gateway (SWG), and Zero Trust Network Access ( ZTNA) while providing contextual security based on user,

In the fight against ransomware attacks, companies benefit above all from the following security functions of modern SASE solutions:

  • Identify Suspicious Files: Security officers can effectively identify suspicious files using static and dynamic analysis tools that are part of the IPS engine or Firewall-as-a-Service (FaaS) functionality. Because as soon as a file leaves a user’s computer and enters the internal network via a SASE edge gateway, the files are automatically scanned for malicious code
  • Network traffic analysis: SASE offers a unique network traffic analysis with anomaly detection, enabling it to effectively identify lateral movements and unusual network activities that can indicate ransomware.
  • Network segmentation overview: A high level of network visibility enables IT and security departments to understand their network and its segmentation clearly, and apply specific security policies and permissions based on network dynamics.
  • Implement Least Privilege: SASE helps organizations implement Zero Trust Networking (ZTN) and a principle of least privilege to ensure that all users have only the rights necessary to perform their tasks and overly broad rights, the privileges -Encourage abuse, be prevented with the help of network policies.
  • Transparency about the SASE client: SASE’s Host Information Profile (HIP) examines the state of a SASE client connecting to the SASE gateway. Numerous parameters are inspected to guarantee the client’s healthy state, including patch level, OS version, presence of up-to-date AV engine with signatures, registry settings, monitoring of running processes and services, etc. Based on the scan results, the SASE gateway can enforce policies, e.g., B. prevent access to the host or move it to a quarantine network. Finally, advanced SASE solutions also offer a URL reputation feature that monitors and reports when a process on a SASE client contacts a malicious domain.


Ransomware is a ubiquitous security threat. No one knows when the next big attack will happen or whether the ransomware is already trying to penetrate your company’s systems. 

This makes it all the more important to implement preventive measures as quickly as possible to protect valuable data from impending compromise. In addition to standard measures such as deception technologies and backup techniques, SASE offers companies several security functions that play an important role in containing ransomware attacks while ensuring healthy network performance and services.

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