Cyber criminals were busy this year as they targeted public and private entities around the world, with the hacks of HSBC and Facebook most recently coming to light. As organisations rushed to patch the gaps in their security infrastructure and became more attuned to the risks that cyber incidents posed, hackers’ behaviours changed as well over the course of 2018 as they moved from using mass mailing, indiscriminate malware as their weapon of choice to relying on more targeted extortion efforts.
“The actual amount of funds that cyber criminals have been able to raise has been a lot lower than the early days of things like CryptoLocker,” said Graeme Newman, chief innovation officer at CFC Underwriting. Crypto operators netted upwards of seven to eight digit sums from the ransomware that had thousands of victims, according to some estimates. “What’s happened in more recent months is that those numbers have come down significantly, maybe because of the volume of ransomware and the increasing sophistication of endpoint protection systems to block ransomware, and also growing employee awareness of malicious links.”
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