FraudWatch’s extensive history has allowed our experts to see cyber threats of all kinds and has helped companies figure out solutions to all of them. From smaller-scale trojan viruses to business-threatening phishing attacks, we’ve seen and tangled with them all—allowing us to continuously improve our services and save businesses.


On some rare occasions, however, there are certain kinds of threats that can baffle us in terms of both the damage they cause and how uncommon they are. One particular example of a rare and highly dangerous threat is double extortion: a growing threat in today’s digital landscape that is victimising a growing number of unsuspecting firms.


What Is Double Extortion?


The cyberthreat of double extortion takes its name from the proprietary system that is used to carry it out. Introduced in 2019, this new technique uses two similar tools simultaneously—encryption, in this case—to reshape the flow of a ransomware attack. In the case of double extortion, perpetrators use the system to encrypt a victim’s data with two (or, in some cases, more) ransomware strains.


Currently, this type of cyber threat approach spawns in two different forms:


  1. Layered encryption: This ransomware tool allows attackers to encrypt a victim’s data with one ransomware strain while re-encrypting it with another ransomware sample.
  2. Side-by-side encryption: This alternate approach uses one ransomware strain to encrypt some systems in a victim’s network while using another ransomware sample to encrypt other systems.

How Is Double Extortion Implemented?


Today, double extortion sets itself apart as an especially complicated and dangerous type of cyber attack. When such an approach is carried out, hackers or cyber criminals send a malware payload (commonly through phishing) that steals a victim’s plaintext information before launching an encryption routine.


Once the initial measures are carried out, those operating the attack will then go on to demand two ransoms:


  1. The first ransom is one made for a decryption utility;
  2. The second ransom is one made for the deletion of the victim’s stolen information from their servers


Over the years, this particular system has become a favourite among threat actors because it leverages urgency to coerce victims into paying up. On the other hand, its relative newness doesn’t help at all in terms of protecting victims and keeping their data safe because those struck by a double encryption measure don’t know what to do.


How Can You Best Deal With Such Threats?


If your company is affected by a double-extortion ransomware scheme, here’s something you should know: DO NOT PAY.


The increasing psychological pressure that a present threat and those carrying it out may give you a reason to cave in and pay, but the truth is that doing so means losing more than what’s already at stake. Instead of complying with a threat actor’s demands, you should seek the services of a digital brand protection company like FraudWatch to help you out!


Dealing with the threat of double-extortion can be an incredibly complicated experience on top of the implications that come with regular ransomware. By staying mindful of this particular cybersecurity concern and enlisting the help of a professional to remedy the situation and protect you from it, your company will be protected at all costs!


FraudWatch is a digital brand protection company specialising in helping businesses all over the country with our anti-phishing, anti-piracy solutions, and cyber-attack prevention services. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help keep your business safe online!