Ransomware Targets are Shifting

Researchers detail how some ransomware groups are shifting towards smaller targets, but ones where they can still guarantee a significant payday.

The cost and risk of executing ransomware attacks is going up, making it harder for cyber criminals to carry them out, which could lead to a decline in the number of overall ransomware attacks. But that could mean some ransomware victims end up paying a heavier price.

Ransomware is still running rampant, with several major incidents in the last week alone, but according to analysis by cybersecurity company Coveware, there are signs that recent changes could reduce the total number of ransomware attacks.

But while the number of attacks could fall, there’s the possibility that the ransom demands made by successful ransomware groups could rise.

The Biden administration’s executive orders across US government agencies, the Colonial Pipeline bringing ransomware to the forefront of CEO’s minds and moves by cyber insurance providers to require improved cybersecurity protocols before a policy is taken out or renewed are all developments that are likely to have improved cybersecurity of enterprises, making them more robust against attacks.

But it’s the rise in arrests relating to involvement in ransomware attacks which is cited as the biggest change to the ransomware landscape, with the arrest of several suspected REvil ransomware affiliates in Russia described as the most notable.

According to analysis by Coveware, this move has increased the risk profile of being involved with ransomware attacks, and thus decreases the pool of cyber criminals, because some will decide the potential for being arrested and extradited isn’t worth the risk – to the extent that some are quitting.

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