Ransomware report highlights how sophisticated double extortion attacksĀ are causing significant business disruption

Published: Monday, 17 May 2021 07:28

Zscaler, Inc., has published its new Ransomware Report featuring analysis of key ransomware trends and details about the most prolific ransomware actors, their attack tactics and the most vulnerable industries being targeted.

The Zscaler ThreatLabz embedded research team analyzed over 150 billion platform transactions and 36.5 billion blocked attacks between November 2019 and January 2021 to identify emerging ransomware variants, their origins, and how to stop them.

The report also outlines a growing risk from ‘double-extortion’ attacks, which are being increasingly used by cybercriminals to disrupt businesses and hold data hostage for ransom.

Zscaler’s research supports the narrative recently established by the US federal government, which classifies ransomware a national security threat; underscoring the need to prioritize mitigation and contingency measures when protecting against these ongoing threats.

Double-extortion - the new preferred method

In late 2019, ThreatLabz noticed a growing preference for ‘double-extortion’ attacks in some of the more active and impactful ransomware families. These attacks are defined by a combination of unwanted encryption of sensitive data by malicious actors and exfiltration of the most consequential files to hold for ransom. Affected organizations, even if they are able to recover the data from backups, are then threatened with public exposure of their stolen data by criminal groups demanding a ransom. In late 2020, the team noticed that this tactic was further augmented with synchronized DDoS attacks, overloading victim’s websites and putting additional pressure on organizations to cooperate.

According to Zscaler ThreatLabZ, many different industries have been targeted over the past two years by double-extortion ransomware attacks.
The most targeted industries include the following:

Obtain ‘ThreatLabZ Ransomware Review: The Advent of Double Extortion