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Info@NationalCyberSecurity

2023 marked an 80 percent increase in ransomware activity | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


The latest annual report from the GuidePoint Research and Intelligence Team (GRIT) observed 63 distinct ransomware groups using encryption, data exfiltration, data extortion, and other novel tactics to compromise and publicly post 4,519 victims across all 30 of GRIT’s tracked industries, and in 120 countries, across 2023.

Most impacts affected a limited subset of industries. 62 percent of all observed victims belong to one of the top ten most-impacted industries, with manufacturing and technology remaining the two most-impacted.

Manufacturing and technology represent 12.9 percent and 7.9 percent of all victims, respectively. Among manufacturing industry victims, the US was impacted five times as much as the next highest country, Germany (265 vs 48 victims). Manufacturing was the most impacted industry for almost every month in 2023, apart from May, when it placed behind technology by a single observed victim.

“Comparing 2023 to 2022 ransomware activity, we saw an 80 percent YoY increase of victim posting,” says Drew Schmitt, practice lead at GRIT. “While mass exploitation campaigns contributed substantially to this large increase, we saw a significant increase in ransomware activity overall. New entrants in the ransomware ecosystem had repeated opportunities either through reduced technical barriers such as the recycling of leaked ransomware builders and commodity malware, or the recycling of previously leaked data for attempted re-extortion and claims of attacks that never were. For those established groups with resources and technical expertise, exploitation of high-severity and zero-day vulnerabilities provided a reliable means of exploiting victims at scale, a trend we assess as likely to continue into 2024 as a means of overcoming improvements in security.”

Long-established groups account for the overwhelming majority of observed victims (85 percent), followed by developing groups (10 percent). The top three most prolific established groups — LockBit, Alphv, and Clop — continue to account for not just the lion’s share of victims but also much of the innovation and tactical changes across the ransomware ecosystem. Ephemeral and emerging groups, as the newest and shortest-term entrants, lag behind their maturing counterparts but still pose a significant threat to worldwide organizations, exacerbated by less ‘reliable’ actors and frequently recycled malware.

“Last year, ransomware continued to increase in terms of impact, sophistication, and the number of participating actors, indicating that the ransomware ecosystem has not yet reached a point of market saturation,” adds Schmitt. “We expect ransomware impacts to continue an upward trajectory into 2024 and beyond until ransomware groups’ financial interests conflict with one another or until law enforcement and regulatory pressures reduce the perceived attractiveness of the space and the risk calculus of its participants.”

The full report is available from the GuidePoint site and there will be a webinar to discuss the findings on January 31st at 2pm ET.

Image credit: AndreyPopov/depositphotos.com



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