BlackFog report reveals alarming rise in ransomware attacks in 2023 | #ransomware | #cybercrime

BlackFog has published its ‘State of Ransomware Report’ for December 2023, revealing an unprecedented surge in ransomware attacks. A record-high number of incidents were observed, with the total sum reaching 70 attacks, indicating a dramatic increase in the occurrence of such cyber threats.

The expertise in the report summarises all ransomware attacks, including disclosed and undisclosed incidents. It also details the techniques and strategies of the most prevalent ransomware groups, the most targeted sectors, and the countries with the highest number of recorded attacks.

Darren Williams, CEO and Founder of BlackFog said, “December continued to break new records, ending with the second-highest number of attacks ever recorded. The latter half of 2023 saw twice the number of attacks compared to 2022 and shows no signs of slowing down. The unreported attack ratio was 541%, implying companies were only reporting one in five attacks globally.”

While Williams noted that these figures mark a slight improvement when compared to the peak ratio of 10 to 1, they are still alarmingly high. He anticipates that the new SEC reporting requirement, which is now in full effect, should make a significant impact on these figures in the coming months.

The healthcare sector saw the most attacks, with a total of 138 incidents, marking a 15% increase over the previous month. The holiday season brought added pressure on the retail and finance sectors, which were subject to increases of 23% and 18% in attacks, respectively. In addition, the manufacturing, education, technology, and services industries each experienced a 20% hike in cyberattack occurrences.

In terms of the ransomware variants, LockBit and BlackCat dominated the recorded attacks with 19.2% and 18.4% respectively. Intriguingly, data exfiltration was identified as the primary mechanism for extortion, currently accounting for 91% of all cases, with traffic exfiltration rates to China and Russia noted at 29% and 9%, respectively.

“LockBit also lead the unreported attacks at 35.3%, followed by BlackCat at 14.1%,” said Williams. “Data exfiltration continues to be the most dominant mechanism for extortion, now at 91%, with traffic exfiltration to China at 29% and Russia at 9%.”

The findings unveiled in the report highlight the growing threat of ransomware and the need for enterprises and industries to step up their cybersecurity measures. As such cyber threats persist uncontrolled, organisations are summoned to strengthen their defences, ensure adequate reporting, and contribute to a large-scale fight against digital crime.

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