This blog is part one of a two-part series focused on how Microsoft DART helps customers with human-operated ransomware. For more guidance on human-operated ransomware and how to defend against these extortion-based attacks, refer to our human-operated ransomware docs page.
Microsoft’s Detection and Response Team (DART) has helped customers of all sizes, across many industries and regions, investigate and remediate human-operated ransomware for over five years. This blog aims to explain the process and execution used in our customer engagements to provide perspective on the unique issues and challenges regarding human-operated ransomware. We will also discuss how DART leverages Microsoft solutions such as Microsoft Defender for Endpoint, Microsoft Defender for Identity, and Microsoft Cloud App Security (MCAS) within customer environments while collaborating with cross-functional threat intelligence teams across Microsoft who similarly track human-operated ransomware activities and behaviors.
Human-operated ransomware is not a malicious software problem—it’s a human criminal problem. The solutions used to address commodity problems aren’t enough to prevent a threat that more closely resembles a nation-state threat actor. It disables or uninstalls your antivirus software before encrypting files. They locate and corrupt or delete backups before sending a ransom demand. These actions are commonly done with legitimate programs that you might already have in your environment and are not considered malicious. In criminal hands, these tools are used maliciously to carry out attacks.