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11/22/2021

The Evolving Threat of Ransomware

TripWire

Currently, ransomware is the most prominent cyber threat to businesses and individuals. Ransomware attacks are growing more prevalent as cybercriminals find new ways to profit from them. According to CyberEdge’s 2021 Cyberthreat Defense Report, 62% of organizations were victimized by ransomware in 2019—up from 56% in 2018 and 55% in 2017. This rise is arguably fueled by the dramatic increase in ransomware payments. More than half (58%) of ransomware victims paid a ransom last year, which is up from 45% in 2018 and 39% in 2017.

There are three key factors that make ransomware more profitable for attackers: cryptocurrencies, Ransomware as a Service (RaaS), and geopolitical safe-havens.

Cryptocurrencies provide a safe mechanism for threat actors to be paid while reducing the likelihood of authorities being able to track the money. All contemporary ransomware will ask the victim to send the ransom money to a cryptocurrency wallet address. Ransomware as a Service permits sophisticated ransomware gangs to sell their harmful services to anyone who wants to participate in this criminal enterprise. RaaS providers charge a percentage of the profit generated by the purchaser of the service. The malevolent organization “REvil” promoted RaaS by carrying out multiple ransomware attacks as well as supporting and giving tools to individuals interested in using its service.

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