Don’t Get Bitten by EKANS, the Newest Ransomware Risk


Is there a snake in your computer system? Snake ransomware has emerged as a new threat, and industrial control systems could be at risk. The malware is also called EKANS, the backwards spelling of snake – but whichever term people use, it’s got a venomous bite. Here’s how this new cyberattack could threaten your operations.

Ransomware Takes Aim

The Snake malware is new, but ransomware has been a serious threat for a while now – and the attacks keep evolving.

In October 2019, the FBI issued a public service announcement warning that ransomware attacks were “becoming more targeted, sophisticated, and costly.” Losses had increased significantly as a result.

Attacks typically work by encrypting files and then demanding a ransom in exchange for the return of those files. Because many businesses depend on their computer systems, the loss of files can be devastating.

The new Snake ransomware is different, though. It’s designed to attack industrial control systems, and that could cause major problems.

The Evolution of a Snake

According to Insurance Thought Leadership, the new Snake malware is similar to the Stuxnet attack, which attacked Iran’s centrifuges in 2009 and set back the country’s nuclear program.

Now, according to WIRED, security firms say that Snake is designed to target industrial control systems. The malware could impact manufacturing facilities, power grids, oil refineries and other types of companies.

Snake ransomware is dangerous and new, but it may not be the first of its kind. According to WIRED, security firm Dragos reported a ransomware called Megacortex last year. Both types of ransomware had the ability to target industrial organizations and pose a significant threat to systems.

After systems are infected with Snake ransomware, the victim will receive a ransom request, as has been seen with other types of ransomware.

A Threat to All Industries

The FBI warns that “Cyber criminals use a variety of techniques to infect victim systems with ransomware. Cyber criminals upgrade and change their techniques to make their attacks more effective and to prevent detection.”

Previous ransomware campaigns have targeted healthcare organizations and government agencies. The new Snake malware is a threat to industrial control systems. Future forms of ransomware may target other industries.

Whether your business is large or small, and regardless of the type of industry you’re in, ransomware is a threat that you can’t afford to ignore. As ransomware campaigns continue to evolve into increasingly sophisticated and targeted attacks, everyone is vulnerable.

According to the FBI, cybercriminals often exploit email phishing campaigns, remote desktop protocol vulnerabilities and software vulnerabilities in order to infect computer systems. Businesses must take steps to eliminate cybersecurity weaknesses – before a snake gets in.

On that note, we’re proud to share that Silvervine Software upholds strict cyber security measures. Each year, we go through the SOC 1 (SSAE 16) Type 2 examination: an independent accreditation that demonstrates our commitment to the quality and security of the services we offer. When it comes to policy administration systems, don’t accept anything less.