The world has been witnessing an alarming rise in ransomware attacks, causing a growing menace for organizations worldwide. Ransomware attacks surged by 10% compared to the previous quarter, says the quarterly analysis by Cyble.
With the potential to cause significant damage, these attacks have become a cause of concern for organizations, and they must take proactive measures to prevent them.
Growth of ransomware attacks in Q4-2022
One of the primary reasons for the surge in ransomware attacks in Q4-2022 is businesses’ increased adoption of remote work policies.
Remote work environments present a significant challenge for organizations to maintain robust security protocols. As more employees work from home or other locations, the risk of cyber attacks such as ransomware increases.
Another reason for the growth in ransomware attacks is ransomware gangs’ use of new and innovative techniques.
The report highlights these groups’ adoption of intermittent encryption techniques, which allows them to encrypt files and data intermittently, making it harder for organizations to detect and prevent attacks.
Here are the most top ransomware groups that dominated the Q4 space last year.
Top 3 ransomware groups in Q4 2022
LockBit is a notorious ransomware gang known for its sophisticated and highly effective tactics. The group typically infiltrates organizations’ networks by exploiting vulnerabilities in their systems and then proceeds to encrypt their critical files, demanding a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.
LockBit is believed to have been operational since 2019 and has targeted many organizations worldwide, including large corporations, government agencies, and healthcare providers. The group’s ransom demands are often exorbitant, and they threaten to publish stolen data if the ransom is not paid.
BlackCat is a relatively new and emerging ransomware gang that has quickly gained notoriety for its disruptive attacks. The group typically gains access to organizations’ networks through phishing emails, exploiting vulnerabilities in remote desktop protocols, or purchasing access from other hackers on the dark web.
Once inside, the gang encrypts the victim’s data and, like other ransomware gangs, demands a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.
BlackCat’s ransom demands are relatively modest, but they threaten to leak sensitive data to the public if the ransom is not paid. The gang is believed to have been operational since mid-2021 and has targeted organizations worldwide, including small and medium-sized businesses.
Royal has been a notorious ransomware gang active since at least 2018. The group’s modus operandi involves gaining unauthorized access to organizations’ networks through phishing emails, exploiting vulnerabilities, or purchasing access on the dark web.
Once inside, the group deploys its custom-built ransomware, encrypting the victim’s data and demanding a ransom in exchange for the decryption key.
Royal’s ransom demands are often steep, and they threaten to release sensitive data to the public if the ransom is not paid. The group is believed to have targeted various organizations worldwide, including healthcare providers, universities, and government agencies.
Q4 2022 Ransomware report: Top key findings
The US continues to be the most targeted country
According to the report, the United States has remained a prime target for ransomware attacks. Considering the number of businesses operating within its borders and the country’s tremendous economic influence worldwide, this should be no surprise.
Ransomware gangs have a particular affinity for exploiting vulnerabilities in US businesses, making it imperative that organizations take proactive measures to protect themselves.
Industry-wise analysis of ransomware attacks
The healthcare sector has witnessed a worrisome surge in ransomware attacks, as highlighted in the report’s industry-wise analysis. The report underscores that healthcare organizations hold a wealth of sensitive data, which makes them a prime target for ransomware gangs.
The attackers are well aware of the high stakes involved, and thus, they tend to focus their malicious activities on the healthcare sector. The rising trend of such attacks in this industry is a matter of concern, and healthcare organizations must take proactive measures to safeguard their systems and data.
Analysis of new TTPs adopted by ransomware gangs
As cybercriminals become increasingly sophisticated in their methods, ransomware gangs have adopted new tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs) to evade detection and intensify their attacks. One of the most significant trends observed is the increased use of intermittent encryption techniques.
By encrypting data and files intermittently, ransomware gangs make it difficult for organizations to detect and mitigate the attack, increasing their chances of a successful ransom demand. As ransomware attacks evolve, organizations must stay updated and proactively protect themselves.
Comparison between old and new entrants
The report sheds light on a fascinating trend in the tactics used by ransomware gangs, comparing the methods employed by old and new entrants on their list.
The analysis highlights that newer gangs are more inclined towards utilizing advanced techniques such as intermittent encryption, which makes it more challenging for organizations to thwart their attacks.
On the other hand, older gangs tend to stick to more traditional methods, which might be easier to detect but can still cause significant damage. The comparison underscores the evolving nature of ransomware attacks and the need for organizations to stay abreast of the latest trends and tactics to protect themselves from the ever-changing threat landscape.
Niche insights and predictions
Cyble’s analysis provides some niche insights into the future of ransomware attacks, and one of the most significant predictions is the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI) by ransomware gangs.
As per the report, AI-powered ransomware attacks could pose an even more significant threat than current attacks, as they would be more sophisticated and challenging to detect. This new wave of attacks is poised to be more dangerous than ever, and organizations must take proactive measures to protect themselves against this emerging threat.
The digital world is constantly evolving, and unfortunately, so are the tactics of cybercriminals. Ransomware attacks have become increasingly prevalent, and businesses must proactively safeguard their critical data and systems.
The report emphasizes the importance of implementing stringent security protocols and staying abreast of emerging trends and threats.
It’s crucial to remain vigilant and stay one step ahead of attackers to prevent them from holding your organization hostage. Take your time – take the necessary steps now to protect your business from ransomware attacks.
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