The number of targeted attacks has increased significantly over the past couple of years. According to the research conducted by the NCC Group, the attacks have increased by 288% between January-March 2021 and April-June 2021 and increasingly involve double extortion tactics.
The Conti ransomware gang alone was responsible for at least 22% of the data leaks online. The gang uses email phishing to break into the network using an employee’s compromised device.
Conti was followed by the Avaddon ransomware, responsible for at least 17% of the data leaks.
Researchers noted a rising trend among these attacks, “double extortion,” when criminals force organizations to pay up a ransom by threatening to leak sensitive stolen data, a move which can damage the company’s reputation.
Among the various types of attacks that occurred globally, the USA received the maximum number of attacks comprising 49% of the victims. France registered 7% of the victims of ransomware attacks, followed by Germany, comprising 4% of the victims.
The targets range across various industries, including IT, financial institutions, and even national service providers.
The global leader for threat intelligence at NCC Group, Christo Butcher, advises organizations to build their resilience and level up their cybersecurity resistance. He also recommended organizations deploy a least-privilege model. With this model, even if a user’s account is hacked, the attackers will not be able to access top-level sensitive information.
“It’s therefore crucial for organizations to be proactive about their resilience. This should include proactive remediation of security issues, and operating a least-privilege model, which means that if a user’s account is compromised, the attacker will only be able to access and/or destroy a limited amount of information,” Butcher advised in an interview with HelpNetSecurity.