Claranet | Mapping the Ransomware Landscape

Issue link: https://insight.claranet.co.uk/i/1308895

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2 Executive Summary When a cyber threat grows in magnitude by 35 times in one year, every organization should pay attention. This is exactly what happened with ransomware. Hacktivists have targeted organizations from many different industry segments, as well as businesses of virtually every size. Piecemeal approaches to security are not sufficient to thwart ransomware attacks. Integrated models using next-generation firewalls, layered security, and proactive threat intelligence are critical when mounting a defense against cyberattacks. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) and other kit-like tools have lowered the entry bar for cyber criminals enabling even novice attackers to be successful against scattered security infrastructures. And monetary technologies like bitcoin make it virtually impossible for law enforcement authorities to track ransom payments. With the exponential growth in ransom paid to ransomware hacktivists, the prospect that this will continue—and at a faster rate—in coming years is great. Recognizing the growing threat, banks are stocking up on bitcoin so their customers can quickly pay cyber criminals to unlock hacked data. The financial impact to organizations is much larger than just the ransom being paid to cyber criminals. Downtime translates into thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue and productivity. Organizations across multiple industry sectors can attest to these implications. Scope of the Threat From small and midsize businesses (SMBs) to large enterprises, data is at the heart of most organizations today. However, digitization of more and more company assets, in addition to the growing push to the cloud, puts data in the crosshairs of cyber criminals. While 90% of the world's data was created in the last two years, in that same time span, data breaches were up 54%. 3 Recognizing the value of data, cyber criminals are increasingly turning to ransomware as a means of monetization. They infiltrate IT systems and access data through various hacks, encrypting, locking, and exfiltrating files. Unable to access information that is critical to their businesses, hacked organizations are forced to pay for the information to be released by the cyber criminals. The sophistication of many of these efforts has evolved to the point where cyber criminals provide their victims with live customer support that walks them through the processes to remit payment as well as regain access to their data and IT systems. Ransomware Attacks Skyrocket How serious is the threat of ransomware? Ransomware attacks more than doubled last year, with hackers modifying attack methods for more lucrative payouts. 4 Yet at the same time, only one in three organizations say they are confident they can track and remediate attacks. 5 The financial repercussions of ransomware skyrocketed as well. Ransomware is expected to have a global impact of $20 billion by 2021. 6 Ransomware demands commonly reach six-figure sums, and because the transfer is often made by bitcoin, it is relatively simple for cyber criminals to launder it without it being traced. 7 The indirect costs are those of business interruption that are associated with a ransomware attack. In the public sector, 42% of organizations have suffered a ransomware incident in the last 12 months, with 73% of those experiencing two or more days of downtime as a result. 8 From 2018 to 2019, the number of ransomware detections rose by 365%. 1 Over the past year, the number of new ransomware variants increased by 46%. 2

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