Ransomware runs rampant in crucial sectors, including education, healthcare, finance, government organizations, etc. A 2019 CyberEdge report found that 45% of ransomware-hit organizations paid the ransom. Organizations must be aware of these trends as the numbers continue to surge. Let’s examine five ransomware trends in 2023 that affect businesses worldwide.
#1: Ransomware Payments Rose Drastically
Ransomware payouts rose exceedingly this year, nearly doubling to $1.5m. Enterprise companies make for large targets. Companies with significant financial earnings are likelier to be targeted, and these companies are more likely to pay the ransom. According to a 2023 Sophos report on the state of ransomware – which included responses from 3,000 IT and cybersecurity leaders across 14 countries – 72% of victims with annual revenue of $5 billion were attacked. In comparison, 56% of organizations with revenue of $10-$50 million experienced a ransomware attack.
#2: Email Attacks Pose a Serious Threat to Companies
Ransomware attackers are finding success in exploiting companies via email. These emails often contain or lead to malware – whether that be malicious attachments, links, etc. Attackers have learned to mask their intent through emails that appear legitimate, such as using company logos or convincing email copy.
According to the Sophos report, a significant number of cyber attacks originated from emails. Among these attacks, 18% were initiated by a malicious email, while 13% were due to phishing. Only 3% of attacks were from brute force, and only 1% from downloads. That shows threat actors use more subtle tactics to infiltrate a business’s data.
#3: The Root Cause Is Exploited Vulnerabilities
The root cause of these attacks comes through exploited vulnerabilities, with sectors like media, leisure, and entertainment reporting this as the primary issue. Additionally, companies in the lowest (less than $10 million: 50%) and highest ($5 billion-plus: 45%) revenue brackets included in the Sophos survey reported that the highest percentages of attacks started with an exploited vulnerability. The middle tier ($250 – $500 million), however, dipped to 30%.
#4: High-Earning Companies Pay the Highest Ransoms
Unsurprisingly, cyberattackers are looking to collect a hefty payday at the expense of high-earning enterprise companies. That means attackers are willing to adjust and have a payment structure based on an organization’s ability to pay the ransom.
Large companies have sophisticated IT infrastructure with complicated systems, which means they are more likely to pay their way out of this circumstance to save time. As annual revenue increases, so does a company’s willingness to pay for data retrieval. 55% of companies with revenue of over $5 billion got data back by paying the ransom.
#5: Ransomware Attacks Lead to a Loss of Business
Based on the Sophos report, 84% of private sector organizations hit by ransomware reported that the attack resulted in them losing business, which led to a loss in revenue. The construction and property industries, as well as lower levels of education, were most impacted by cyber-attacks, resulting in revenue loss. Much of this is sector-dependent. Business and professional services (64%) are five times more likely than IT, technology, and telecoms (12%) to have experienced significant business and revenue losses.
- Ransomware payouts rose exceedingly this year, nearly doubling to $1.5m.
- Attackers have learned to mask their intent through emails that appear legitimate, such as using company logos or convincing email copy.
- The highest percentages of attacks started with an exploited vulnerability.
- As annual revenue increases, so does a company’s willingness to pay for data retrieval. 55% of companies with revenue of over $5 billion got data back by paying the ransom.
- 84% of private sector organizations hit by ransomware reported that the attack resulted in them losing business, which led to a loss in revenue.
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