Ransom seeking Hackers Exploit Managed File Transfer Software

Picture Source: Reuters

In recent years, ransom-seeking hackers have shifted their focus to the realm of managed file transfer (MFT) software, exploiting the sensitive data exchanged between organizations and their partners to extort substantial payouts. This alarming trend has sent governments and businesses worldwide scrambling to address the repercussions of high-profile compromises involving MFT solutions like Progress Software’s MOVEit Transfer, Accellion’s File Transfer Appliance, and Fortra’s GoAnywhere MFT. But why exactly are hackers so determined to subvert MFT software? This article delves into the world of MFT software, exploring its significance and the motivations behind the hackers’ relentless targeting.

MFT Software: Beyond Consumer File Sharing Programs

MFT software, such as FTA, GoAnywhere MFT, and MOVEit Transfer, functions as the corporate counterpart to popular file-sharing programs like Dropbox or WeTransfer. While consumer-oriented platforms are suitable for exchanging files among individuals, MFT software serves the purpose of securely transferring data between systems on an automated and large-scale basis. These solutions offer advanced capabilities like workflow automation, fine-grained access control, and efficient data movement, making them indispensable for organizations requiring robust data exchange infrastructure.

The Temptation for Hackers

According to James Lewis, managing director of UK-based Pro2col, which specializes in MFT software consulting, infiltrating and extorting a well-defended corporation poses considerable challenges for hackers. Gaining initial access, maneuvering through intricate networks, and stealthily exfiltrating data without detection require significant effort. In contrast, compromising an MFT program, often accessible through the open internet, is akin to robbing a convenience store—an enticing prospect for hackers. By exploiting a vulnerable MFT software, hackers gain access to a treasure trove of data at a centralized point, allowing for quick and efficient theft.

Shifting Hacker Tactics

The method employed by hackers to exploit MFT software is evolving rapidly. While traditional ransomware attacks involve encrypting a company’s network and demanding payment for decryption, some threat actors are now opting for a more streamlined approach—pure extortion without encryption. This shift away from encrypt-and-extort demonstrates a strategic adjustment within the hacker community. Allan Liska, an analyst at Recorded Future, emphasizes that many ransomware groups prefer the simplicity of extortion as it minimizes disruption and attracts less law enforcement attention. This tactical shift reflects a growing trend in the hacker landscape.

The Implications and Countermeasures

The increasing prevalence of ransom-seeking attacks targeting MFT software highlights the urgent need for organizations to bolster their cybersecurity measures. Strengthening network defenses, implementing robust access controls, and regularly updating and patching MFT software are vital steps to mitigate the risk of exploitation. Additionally, organizations should invest in comprehensive threat intelligence and proactive monitoring to detect potential compromises early on. Collaboration between software vendors, cybersecurity firms, and law enforcement agencies is crucial to developing effective countermeasures and sharing information about emerging threats.


As ransom-seeking hackers turn their attention to the lucrative world of managed file transfer software, organizations face escalating threats to the sensitive data they exchange. The allure of exploiting MFT software lies in its centralized access to valuable information, making it an attractive target for cybercriminals. By adapting their tactics to focus on pure extortion instead of encryption, hackers aim to maximize their success while evading law enforcement scrutiny. To combat this growing menace, businesses must fortify their cybersecurity defenses, remain vigilant, and collaborate with industry experts to stay one step ahead of these relentless adversaries.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *