What is a ransomware attack simulation?


If you truly want to put your systems to the test, you need to encounter a real-life attack. And that’s exactly what a CovertSwarm ransomware attack simulation delivers.

Phishing emails, USB drops, or drive-by downloads, we’ll stop short of nothing until we find a weakness in your system to exploit. But rather than hold it against you, we’ll show you how to patch your vulnerabilities and fortify your security defenses.

Practice your ransomware response plan to understand the consequences of a real-life attack in a controlled and harmless environment. Learn to prevent, detect, and respond to ransomware, without putting your data or reputation on the line.

Man typing on a laptop

Our approach to ransomware attack simulation

Ransomware is one of the most devastating forms of cyber attack out there. You can even buy it as a service on the dark web. In a matter of minutes, all a target’s data could be held to ransom, or even worse, wiped out completely.

We’ll use real-life tactics and techniques to test your security systems against the threat of ransomware attacks. We won’t stop until we succeed and then we’ll teach you how to ensure it never happens again. Ready to simulate a ransomware attack? Let us show you just how susceptible your organization really is.

“We are really happy with CovertSwarm as our external RED team.”

COO and Co-founder, IT services and consulting company.

Constant cyber attack via subscription

For a simple monthly fee, our dedicated team of ethical hackers will constantly attack the full scope of your brand using digital, physical and social methods.

And when we find a way to breach your organization, we’ll raise the alarm before a real threat succeeds.


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Just as your security defenses must evolve to keep pace with organizational change, so must your approach to cyber attack.

With most security breaches occurring many days prior to detection, effective simulated assaults must be constant. It’s the only way to counteract an APT and avoid zero-day exploits.

A room with equipment left alone


It’s not just your systems and applications which are susceptible to threat. Your people are too. Staff members are one of the most common breach points for successful cyber attacks.

That’s why, thinking beyond the digital, we’ll seek to exploit previous unexplored weaknesses in your physical and social environments too.


Ready to be hacked? For a demo of our services or to get a quote, just get in touch.

Attack and educate.

We won’t just detect ransomware-vulnerable spots; we’ll teach you how to identify and block any future attacks. Our debrief session is followed by a series of workshops designed to increase employee awareness and to harden your systems and recovery processes.

Zero tolerance for ransomware attacks.

Protect your business, data, and reputation from extortion. Use your newly-gained ransomware experience and knowledge to take a proactive stance against the looming threat of cybercriminals and start strengthening your security posture today.

Benefits of our ransomware attack simulation

Don’t test, attack: bulletproof your business.

We don’t test. We attack. Find out whether your security posture can withstand a real-life cyber assault. Encounter minimal consequences with our ransomware simulation services and bulletproof your business from an ever-evolving landscape of threats.

Never stop defending: continuous subscription service.

Ransomware attacks are some of the ​​most common and damaging forms of cyber threats in existence. Our ransomware fire drill is great as a one-off, but even better as an ongoing subscription to maintain staff awareness and tuned detection systems.

Want a taste of the dark side? Be our guest.

We dropped an infected USB in the common area. We sent out a malicious link to your staff. We’ll use the same subversive techniques as cybercriminals, but we won’t contribute to your downfall in the process.

Features of our ransomware attack simulation

No patch for human error.

There’s no patch to install when it comes to human error. You can update your security systems all you want, but unless you educate your staff, you’ll find yourself vulnerable. Use our ransomware simulations and workshops to enhance awareness and reinforce security measures.

Collective intelligence and experience.

With thousands of attacks under our belt and skill sets that cover all bases, our Swarm is backed by decades of collective experience. Our industry professionals are the best at what they do, so be prepared to feel their wrath.

Detailed insights that cut through the noise.

Don’t waste your time reading jargon that doesn’t concern your business. We deliver valuable insights tailored to your specific needs that will generate actionable results. We cut through the excess noise to focus on the vulnerabilities that will lead to you being breached.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is one of the most devastating forms of cyber attack in existence. It’s an umbrella term used to describe a type of malicious software, or malware, that locks the victim out of their files or systems until a ransom is paid.

Hackers will hold the data hostage via encryption until the victims pay up and threaten to destroy it permanently until they get what they want. Typically, payments are made through untraceable platforms like cryptocurrency.

Ransomware attacks are increasingly commercialized and easy to execute, you can even purchase a ransomware kit from the dark web, find a third party to do the dirty work for you and hire Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) providers.

To find out more, read our ransomware guide.

How does ransomware work?

So, what does ransomware do to a system? Ransomware attackers tend to follow a similar methodology known as a kill chain. The steps in the kill chain are to: gain access, escalate privileges, target data, remove recovery capabilities, deploy ransomware, encrypt data, and hold the keys to decryption until the ransom has been paid.

What are the common types of ransomware?

Unfortunately, the creativity of cybercriminals runs wild, so there are plenty of different types of ransomware attacks to look out for. Here are just a few common ransomware examples:

  • Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) – A ransomware attack company offers criminals the opportunity to purchase RaaS. This business model distributes malware and provides a low-barrier entry to cybercriminals looking to profit from these kinds of attacks.
  • Social Engineering – The most common ransomware attacks involve some form of social engineering. Hackers manipulate users into performing actions that will be detrimental to their security, via tactics like phishing emails or drive-by downloads. User education, effective access control policies and procedures, and endpoint anti-malware software are all viable anti-ransomware solutions that can reduce this risk.
  • Logins without multi-factor authentication (MFA) – An effortless and effective ransomware solution that deters hackers from accessing your login credentials is enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA). By requiring additional login proof, such as a verification code or fingerprint, an extra layer of security is created. Without this additional safeguard, attackers may easily gain access to targeted systems or networks.
Can ransomware be removed?

Each step in the ransomware kill chain is an opportunity for defenders to put a stop to the attack and begin the ransomware recovery plan. Recovery is highly dependent on the severity of the advanced ransomware attack, and typically requires the restoration of data from ‘clean’ backups.

Early detection and prevention are key factors when trying to foster a rapid ransomware attack recovery. If the ransomware is detected during the earlier stages of the kill chain, the chances of successfully performing ransomware removal and restoring affected data are much higher.

Is ransomware a virus?

No, ransomware is not a virus in the traditional sense because it is not normally a self-replicating piece of code that infects a system. Instead, ransomware is typically downloaded via social engineering tactics like phishing emails or malicious downloads.

Rather than a ransomware virus, this common form of cyber attack is known as malware. If you want to know how to protect against ransomware attacks, it’s advised that you learn how to identify potential threats, ensure you have a comprehensive and regularly tested disaster recovery regime in place, and install security measures like anti-ransomware software.

Can you prevent ransomware attacks? 

Learning how to prevent ransomware attack incidents has become a top priority for organizations in recent years. When hackers see the tremendous growth and success organizations have, they want to take a piece for themselves. 

The most effective ransomware protection solutions begin with prevention, so here are some key considerations to take on board: 

  • Create an asset checklist and reduce the attack surface of internet-facing systems, apps and cloud-based infrastructure. Instead, bring it into your virtual private network. 
  • Enable MFA and keep an inventory of all management interfaces that utilise it. 
  • Test your ransomware attack data recovery and security controls regularly. 
  • Segment and isolate all sensitive systems, applications, and/or data to improve ransomware readiness. 
  • Protect backup systems to avoid a ransomware hacker from infecting them. 
  • Test your ability to restore backups and create a ransomware response plan. 
How can I identify or detect ransomware?

Successful ransomware detection is critical if you aim to prevent the loss of sensitive data. Implementing measures like intrusion detection systems and anti-ransomware protection services can avoid potential breaches from occurring. Similarly, providing employees with sufficient ransomware mitigation training and teaching them how to detect attacks is imperative.

How should I respond to a ransomware attack?

If you have fallen victim to a ransomware attack, take immediate action. First, isolate the affected system, disable or update any affected user credentials and assess the damage. Alert the relevant personnel and use a coordinated ransomware response. Speak to a professional to devise the most appropriate ​​plan of action and enact ransomware solutions.

If my business is affected by a ransomware attack, what steps should I take to minimize the damage?

Try to contain the attack by disabling remote access and changing user login credentials. Avoid paying the ransom as this can encourage future attacks on your organization. However, there are ransomware negotiation services that you can use if payment is found to be the only way to recover your affected systems and data..

Restore the lost information and begin your ransomware data recovery procedure. Investigate the root cause of the issue and report the incident to the relevant authorities, especially if you see any evidence of secondary data exfiltration. Finally, evaluate your anti-ransomware protection protocol and implement new safety protocols to mitigate the risk of future attacks. For optimal results, consider hiring an incident response team that specializes in ransomware recovery services.


Our services

Successful organizations are constant targets for malicious actors. Those who take security seriously don’t test their defenses once a year, they subscribe to CovertSwarm to attack continuously through our services.