CODESEALER EXPERT BLOGS

Navigating the Landscape of Ransomware: Insights, Risks, and Strategies

Navigating the Landscape of Ransomware: Insights, Risks, and Strategies

Navigating the Landscape of Ransomware: Insights, Risks, and Strategies

Did you know that by 2031, ransomware is projected to strike a business, consumer, or device every two seconds? Named the fastest-growing type of cybercrime by Cybersecurity Ventures, ransomware continues to pose a global threat to organizations across various industries.

Statistics in 2023 and future prediction

Ransomware remains the most acute threat in the cybersecurity landscape. There is still a belief that ransomware can be caught solely by browsing pirate and adult websites. However, its tentacles spread far beyond. Ransomware attackers target high-profile institutions and national critical infrastructure to maximize their profit. In 2023 alone, ransomware gangs saw unprecedented gains, with their actions yielding over $1 billion in profit. 

One notable instance of ransomware in 2023 was the exploitation of MOVEit file transfer, impacting a staggering 2,611 organizations across all sectors and an estimated 85.1 to 89.9 million individuals. It is predicted that by 2031, the ransomware will cost its victims around $265 billion every year! These numbers are just an approximation of the loss the ransomware would bring, but this estimation does not incur the economic and reputational damages that have a long-lasting negative effect on businesses.

Another fact that is worth mentioning is that while larger-scale ransomware attacks garner media attention, there’s often a lack of precise statistics regarding individual victims. Many victims hesitate to report attacks due to concerns about potential reputational damage or legal repercussions. As a result, the actual impact numbers could be significantly higher than what is commonly reported.

Ransomware-as-a-Service

Recall the cloud service options that convert IT assets into readily available services? Add another surprising cloud computing model to your list: Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS).  

The emergence of RaaS has drastically lowered the barrier to entry for carrying out such attacks, as even those with minimal technical skills can now participate. This cybercrime model functions with ransomware operators developing the necessary software, which affiliates then purchase to execute attacks. These affiliates, lacking technical expertise, rely on the operators’ capabilities. Payment terms and service fees are typically agreed upon between the two parties, often structured as subscription-based arrangements. Additionally, profit-sharing agreements may be established in certain instances. Some of the ransomware operators offer access to a platform with insights into the impact and success of their attacks, allowing for strategic decisions on targeting and ransom negotiation.

Motives behind Ransomware

The market is thriving and full of competitors offering services according to your needs and pocket. Could you believe that somebody is using it to blacklist businesses? In the past, the goal of a ransomware actor would be to decrypt the system and ask for extortion in exchange for giving access back to the owner. Now, the attackers are not limited to this only; they are stealing the information and threatening to publish it online. Some of the groups use double extortion attacks: the victim who has already paid the ransom (typically in cryptocurrency) to get the access back is being threatened again with the leakage of their sensitive data.  

In 2023, researchers at Stanford University investigated the motives driving ransomware attacks and uncovered a significant finding: these attacks are often motivated by more than just financial gain. Alongside seeking profits, the groups orchestrating these attacks frequently harbor political motives, leveraging them to influence state-level elections. Interestingly, many ransomware gangs are unwilling to engage in discussions if a middleman-communicator is involved in the negotiation process. For instance, the Ragnar Locker ransomware gang threatened to delete decryption keys if the victim hired a negotiation firm. In addition, these firms typically benefit from the negotiation process. There are two minds regarding these facilitators: while they can aid in negotiations, they also facilitate ransom payments to ransomware gangs, and the US Treasury cautions that ransomware negotiators may face civil penalties.

Does cyber insurance help?

Cyber insurance has become a trend for online businesses dealing with data online. The market of cyber insurance has tripled over the last 5 years, earning around $13 billion in premiums in 2022, and expected to grow up to $23 billion by 2025. While discussions typically underscore its value as a risk mitigation tool and its adaptability to evolving cyber threats, some media outlets have criticized cyber insurance, saying that it incentivizes cyber extortion attacks. However, such claims don’t withstand scrutiny, as ransomware attacks persist due to criminal success rather than insurance incentives. Beyond its role in ransomware prevention, cyber insurance also enhances awareness of cyber threats, aids in post-attack response, and reliably pays claims for various cyber incidents. While cyber insurance isn’t a standalone solution, it’s a crucial component of a comprehensive risk management strategy, alongside technology, training, and education.

How to prevent ransomware?

Kaspersky defined a number of factors that might make you the target of a ransomware attack: 

  • The device used is no longer state-of-the-art
  • The device has outdated software Browsers and/or operating systems are no longer patched
  • No proper backup plan exists
  • Insufficient attention has been paid to cybersecurity, and a concrete plan is not in place

If you check one or more of these points, then you are falling in the risk zone. Before launching an attack, the ransomware gangs are carefully monitoring and scanning the IT landscape and assets of the company they are aiming to break into. Implementation of virus scanners and content filters on your mail servers helps to prevent ransomware. Watch out a backup software. In some cases, they are the ransomware itself that aims to get all of your data. 

Conclusion

Just like with any other type of malware, taking cautious measures and employing top-notch security software is a crucial step in countering ransomware. What’s especially vital in dealing with this malware variant is the establishment of backups, ensuring readiness even in the event of the most dire circumstances.

MORE EXPERT BLOGS

Read more from security experts around the world.

Exploring Parameter Tampering

Exploring Parameter Tampering

Parameter tampering is a web-based cyber attack in which URL parameters are changed without permission from the users. It is usually done by malicious users for personal benefits. Parameter tampering can modify the application's data, for example, the price and...

read more
Overview of Top Azure Security Tools and Features

Overview of Top Azure Security Tools and Features

In today’s digital world, cloud computing has become the norm for organizations as they depend on cloud services to operate. Here, companies are always striving for a single place to store, process, and access data. This is where Azure Security Tools comes in. It has...

read more
Exploring Parameter Tampering

Exploring Parameter Tampering

Parameter tampering is a web-based cyber attack in which URL parameters are changed without permission from the users. It is usually done by malicious users for personal benefits. Parameter tampering can modify the application's data, for example, the price and...

read more
security when shifting left

security when shifting left

Security matters to everyone involved in application development and support, from the design phase to deployment. Whether you're a developer, security or operations engineer, or the CISO of a company, you're already considering security. Shifting security left...

read more
Security best practices in Kubernetes context

Security best practices in Kubernetes context

Kubernetes is a cutting-edge technology that revolutionizes how applications are deployed and managed. It simplifies the process of orchestrating containers, making it easier for developers and IT teams to build, scale, and manage applications seamlessly. Kubernetes...

read more
Application Security For Retail & ECommerce  Applications

Application Security For Retail & ECommerce Applications

“We know our clients and their needs… We aim to provide consistently high-quality products and services for them. We should also take care of the scalability of our website since we don’t want to lose customers due to the failure in the peak hours, right?” - that's a...

read more
What Is Spooling In Cyber Security?

What Is Spooling In Cyber Security?

What Is Spooling In Cyber Security? Have you ever encountered it before? Before we start on what data spooling means, first of all, let us explain what Cyber Security is in simple words so that everyone gets an idea of what we are talking about. And how spooling...

read more
API ATTACKS! Types & Prevention

API ATTACKS! Types & Prevention

An API attack is a hostile attempt to change the details, steal information, or threaten the authorities. The API attackers use the loopholes available in the system to get the desired information, and sometimes, they change the entire result coming out of data...

read more
Evolution of Signature Based Detection in Cybersecurity

Evolution of Signature Based Detection in Cybersecurity

The Efficacy and Evolution of Signature-Based Detection in Cybersecurity In the ever-evolving landscape of cybersecurity, signature-based detection stands as one of the foundational pillars of defense against digital threats. This method involves identifying malicious...

read more