According to a Palo Alto Networks threat report, nearly 80% of the extortion payments hit at a maximum of $500k. Threat actors played extremely clever tactics to encrypt well-known organizations’ PDF files and folders and earn massive payments (Ransom) from the stolen data. These cybercriminals are known to use the Dark Web, threatening organizations’ private files and gaining money (mostly in cryptocurrency) from the victim organization.
In 2020, cyberattacks grew by almost 50%. Whereas, in 2021, ransomware payments climbed up to 78% and hit a record of 541,001 US dollars. Along with that, Ransom demands climbed over 144% extending to $2.2m. As per the Unit 42 report, among the most popular Ransomware variants, the Conti group was on the top and has been more prolific than other variants. It’s a malware created by Russian-based hackers which accounted for most of the prominent cases, roughly a fifth of the total, and has the ability to affect all the latest versions of Microsoft Windows. Conti group posted 511 organizations on its Dark Web portal. Then comes, REvil (also known as Sodinokibi) which accounts for many massive breaches, for instance, JBS and Kaseya and took the spot at 7.1%. They use the Double Extortion technique to hack an organization’s data. Meaning, along with their ransom demand of decrypting files, cybercriminals might release their data if the next payment is not paid. In the last, comes Hello Kitty and Phobos variants at 4.8% each.
In the same vein, recently 35 new ransomware variants emerged last year, interfering with daily activities that the public can’t even assume — including all sorts of buying habits from grocery to purchasing petrol for vehicles and so on.
Furthermore, the Maze ransomware variant rolled out a leak site that uses victims’ data to humiliate them in the public which in turn benefits cybercriminals to get a ransom for stolen documents. Leak sites include around 60 % American and 31% European businesses.
To conclude, the rising ransomware market initiated the WannaCry outbreak that occurred five years back. Since then many ransomware gangs have emerged. In addition to it, the Coronavirus pandemic also favored the recent rush in malware development. Firms allowed employees to work remotely, which created distance in the organization’s online defenses. Threat actors have played smartly, causing more vulnerabilities.
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