Ransomware – a cyberattack in which attackers hijack computer systems and demand payment to release them – has skyrocketed from a relative rarity a few years ago to the single biggest type of cybercrime today. And there is no end in sight to its growth trajectory. Last year, 2,354 American government entities, healthcare organizations and schools were the victims of ransomware attacks. The average ransomware payout swelled to $178,000 in the first half of 2020, up from $112,000 a year ago, according to ransomware incident response firm Coveware, and few clandestine culprits were caught.
With additional pandemic-related vulnerabilities, these preventable mistakes led to greater losses, and the resulting breaches were often wholly avoidable with simple fixes. Here are four of the most common gaps in security, the high-profile breaches they caused in 2020, and how to prevent your company from becoming the next victim.
As a result of major cyberattacks in 2020, security leaders were forced to be even more cognizant of their approach to protecting their organization, often forcing them to refine and future proof their approaches to this new world of security. After watching the events of 2020 and analyzing threat actors’ approaches, here’s what I expect to see in 2021:
Indeed, over the past few years, ransomware operators have shifted tactics, moving from widespread targeting intended to collect smaller ransoms from several entities to being more selective in what organizations are targeted and setting larger ransom amounts. One recent tactic revealed ransomware operators using virtual machine to evade detection, which was quickly adopted by other groups.
Just like every company in the business world, cybercriminals are looking to boost their sales. With ransomware, they’ve found a way to force victims to pay. And in their quest, cyber attackers are borrowing a playbook from sales teams in legitimate businesses.
Ransomware attacks, phishing scams, fake news and several other cyberattacks made headlines in 2020. As millions of Americans shifted to remote work for business continuity, cybercriminals sprung into action, evolving their social engineering tactics. Smishing and vishing are new variants that are fast gaining traction, targeting mobile phones.
The National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force (NCIJTF) has released a joint-sealed ransomware factsheet to address current ransomware threats and provide information on prevention and mitigation techniques.
VMware Carbon Black released 2020 data that paints a holistic view of the threats healthcare organizations face and should be prepared for in 2021. Researchers found that there were 239.4 million attempted attacks targeting healthcare alone in 2020. VMware Carbon Black was also able to identify the top five ransomware families plaguing the healthcare industry including: