What is DarkSide Ransomware?

In the cybersecurity landscape, the ransomware attacks like Darkside ransomware could be considered the most influential and disastrous threat to the networks. Since hackers across the globe kept on trying to discover new and new ways to profit from ransomware attacks, the ratio of these assaults has been continuously and rapidly increasing.

Hackers don’t attack the network out of a thin air. They do it systematically and strategically and with care and patience. They tend to strike when the time is most appropriate as it enhances the ability to conduct a successful attack on any device and system. Doesn’t matter how strong the security of a network is, they still are vulnerable to ransomware assaults such as Darkside ransomware.

Without further ado, delve into the article to explore what is a Darkside ransomware, how it can affect your device and what are the ways to prevent these attacks.

Defining Darkside Ransomware!

Involved in cyberattacks since August 2020, the Darkside ransomware has been actively targeting networks and systems of multiple industries including manufacturing, legal services, financial services, retail and commerce, technology and professional services around the world. Considered the recent entrant to the RaaS mechanism, the Dark side’s assaults reflect an in-depth understanding of the victims’ vulnerabilities, security systems, privacy measures and system architecture.

Like many other cyber trinomials, Darkside works following a double ransom approach for cyberattacks. First, they would sell the encryption key and then request a ransom for the data they have stolen from a company or an organization – or else, it would be destroyed.


How Does DarkSide Ransomware Attack Your Device?

Darkside ransomware similar to other RaaS groups is a type of malicious malware or software that restricted a user from accessing systems, networks, computer files or complete data stored in a network until a ransom is paid for their return. Ransomware can attack almost every system, device and network causing costly disruptions and leading to the massive loss of critical data and information. The Darkside is operated as an organized group in which all the stakeholders get benefited as the profit is shared between all the parties or affiliates.

These affiliates are the bodies that are actually responsible for executing the computer intrusion and deploying the malware to hack all the data and records. These attacks indicate how impactful these malicious cyberattacks can be for any organization or a company.

Initial Access

To gain initial access, the Darkside Ransomware target the systems especially ones with remote protocols.

They later validate the networks, systems and devices in order to hack data and information. In its initial code execution, the ransomware acquires the data about the system language and computer name.

Command and Control

By utilizing an RDP client which is routed over TOR, the Darkside ransomware hackers build command and control to gain control over the device. After installing the TOR browser on the device, the settings have been changed to use them as per the interest. Moreover, hackers always keep a backup command which is a cobalt strike that is used on specifically targeted computers.

Privilege Escalation

Darkside ransomware uses multiple approaches like privilege escalation in order to get complete permissions on a device. These assaults can be executed if a configuration error occurs in an operating system or an application or if a malicious user exploits a bug in a system.

Data Exfiltration and Remove Volume Shadow Copies               

As part of the DarkSide deployment, the ransomware recognizes data backup software, and exfiltrates data to further encodes files. In addition, these attacks frequently attempt to eliminate the volume of shadow copies in a system so that owners cannot access or backup files. Darkside uses PowerShell scripts to remove the copies in a system.

Impair Defenses

Using the impaired defence strategies, the Darkside restricts the security protocols within a system in order to avoid potential detection of their activities. It prevents the victims to run the system or a device.

Vulnerabilities Exploited

Darkside ransomware attackers often target virtual infrastructures through vulnerable versions of hypervisors servers using CVE-2020-3992 and CVE-2019-5544. Attackers use these servers to target the leading organizations and hack their entire data, information and record. The servers have been used to secure information stolen by the companies or organizations.


How to Prevent Darkside Ransomware?

The DarkSide ransomware is a pretty disastrous malware which can encrypt every type of file including audio, videos, photos and documents whilst restricting the owner to access and recover them. Although, it is highly influential malware, however, there are always some ways that can help them against this malware – as mentioned below:

Safety Measures

Make sure to keep unique and strong passwords in order to log in to your accounts. Configure the firewall in a below-mentioned way:

  • Don’t allow Public IPs to access your important ports.
  • Make sure to implement Two Factor Authentication (2FA).
  • Install VPN to visit or access software, applications and sites to hide your RDP.
  • Build a lockout policy which can help restrict the ability to predict credentials.
  • When it comes to access to shared network folders make sure to establish an individual network folder for each user.

Backup Data

  • It is always suggested to use a combination of offline and online backup so you can recover your dost if lost or stolen.
  • Back up important documents and data regularly to protect them from ransomware as well as encrypt or encode your backup on a daily basis.
  • If ransomware like Darkside attacks your system, you still can recover your documents from offline backups.
  • In addition, make sure your offline backups are not linked with your device as your offline data might be encrypted once ransomware attacks your device.

Keep Applications and Software Updated

  • Evade installing applications from unauthorized applications or torrent sites, which often host mischievous software.
  • Make sure to update your software and anti-cyber attack applications to shield your device from ransomware. Anti-cyberattack software might include firewall, antivirus and ore.
  • Make sure to update operating systems and software on a daily basis to identify any exploitable vulnerabilities that can cause further exploitation.

Least Required Privileges

When working on a shared network, multiple users have access to files and documents at the same time. Make sure to limit the administrative and managerial privileges to operators to minimize the chances of getting your data hacked by ransomware or malware. In addition, make sure to not stay logged in for a longer period unless rigorously required. Moreover, avoid opening documents, browsing, editing and updating data and information while logged in to your system as an administrator.


Who Is At Risk?

When cyberattacks like ransomware are common, it is no wonder that any device or system linked to the internet can be at risk of becoming the next victim. Ransomware like Darkside goes into a device and scans its storage and any network connected to it. If the network happens to be a business, the DarkSide ransomware could encrypt all the essential data, information and documents that could restrict productivity.

Why is Ransomware Spreading?

With more and more changes occurring in the tech world, and especially with the ever-changing business landscape turning into a hybrid way of work, cybercriminals increased their use of phishing. One of the simple, inexpensive and effective ways of hacking devices is phishing emails which are also considered the starting point to attack any device. These emails have been used by attackers to target both high and low-privileged users.

In addition, phishing emails are one of the common ways by which attackers enter malware into a device. Documents are attached to the email which helps malicious macro enter into a system and then deliver its payload. Hackers then use all the possible ways to gather all the important data from a system to make their attack a successful one.



Businesses or companies are at the biggest risk of getting attacked by malware and ransomware. However, with some useful safety measures, you can manage to restrict such ransomware from stealing your documents and important data. Make sure to update your device with the latest security protocols as well as install anti-malware software that can actively address, detect and prevent ransomware within your device.

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