Last year, there was a global average increase of 105% in ransomware attacks. 82% of UK business that were hit by a ransomware attack made payment to the cyber criminals – believing this was the cheapest and easiest way to regain access to their own data. Yet this is a false economy and will increase the likelihood of a business being retargeted in the future. It is therefore vitally important that organisations investigate and understand how hackers could exploit vulnerabilities in their network, to prevent against possible future attacks.
The methods and techniques required to conduct a cyber-attack have never been more accessible. Whether it is on the darknet, or through open source content, the ability to purchase material that allows a malicious user to conduct a cyber-attack is readily available. Conducting a ransomware attack and using it to extort money from companies and government services alike is now seen as a viable business model.
Cyber-criminal groups are capitalising on this business model and are providing Ransomware as a Service (RaaS), creating pyramid schemes through a subscription-based model that enables affiliates to use already-developed ransomware tools to execute ransomware attacks. The low technical barrier of entry and the high earning potential is driving a sharp increase in ransomware attacks.
Earlier this week an attack on South Staffordshire Water was conducted by a ransomware group called Cl0p. This attack was specifically targeted at an important time for water companies as the country faces a potential drought. The company’s security was less than watertight, and the hacking group boasted that it would be easy to change the chemical composition of the water, potentially making it unsafe. C10p have been known to use Cobalt Strike in their ransomware attacks, a tool that is supposed to be used ethically for vulnerability detection. Yet hackers are increasingly utilising it for the opposite effect as it allows for a more profitable ransomware attack.
Cyber extortion is now seen as a viable business model. As cyber criminals evolve and the accessibility to previously complex tactics and methods increases, businesses must also evolve and bolster their cyber security to avoid becoming victims. Increasing and updating cyber security controls, defences, policies and staff awareness are all important parts to the protect your organisation and its data. To ensure your cyber defences remain effective in a fast paced threat landscape, you need to be basing them on actionable intelligence. To rest on your laurels and not stay abreast of the current trends and threats could leave your organisation open to threats such as ransomware and cyber extortion.
We are proud to support our clients in delivering real time threat intelligence which allows them to make timely, accurate and financially astute decisions on their cyber defences. We’re here to help you navigate the fast paced and sometimes confusing world of cyber security. Get in touch today to see how we can help you.