Ransomware targets C-suite executives – CyberCube

Organized criminals are moving away from high-volume, low-value attacks

Ransomware targets C-suite executives – CyberCube


By Ryan Smith

C-suite executives will increasingly be targeted as cyber criminals look for ways to extort money from large corporations, according to a new report from cyber analytics provider CyberCube.

Organized criminals and hackers are moving away from “high-volume, low-value” attacks, according to CyberCube. Instead, hackers are carefully selecting senior managers who have access to their companies’ bank accounts and are able to authorize payments.

CyberCube also predicted that cyber criminals will use artificial intelligence to construct algorithms that will hunt for individual targets and decide which of their “buttons to press” in order to make the scam successful.

CyberCube’s latest report, Understanding Ransomware Trends, predicts that cyber criminals will closely calibrate their ransom demands to an organization’s financial performance and data assets – as well as its ability and appetite to pay ransoms.

The nature of ransomware attacks is changing, with a greater focus on organizations rather than individuals, believes CyberCube. According to cybersecurity specialist Symantec, the volume of consumer-focused cyberattacks fell from 69% in 2016 to just 19% in 2018. At the same time, payment demands have been increasing, rising to millions of dollars in some cases.

“The business model for cyber crime is evolving rapidly,” said Oliver Brew (pictured), CyberCube’s head of client services. “Threat actor groups are conducting campaigns and adjusting their models to extract greater value from a smaller number of attacks. Recently, we’ve seen some very sophisticated and aggressive organized criminal groups conduct carefully targeted ransomware attacks, which mark a move away from the traditional high-volume, low-value approach.”

“Criminals are realizing that ransom demands of millions of dollars are achievable when the target becomes a corporation rather than lots of consumers,” said Yvette Essen, CyberCube’s head of content. “The danger now is that the coronavirus outbreak is creating the ideal conditions for ransomware attacks to flourish. With widespread working from home, increased internet traffic, increasing use of technology for what were face-to-face transactions, corporations must increase their vigilance.”

“Insurers need to take a forward-looking view of cyber threats like ransomware,” said Darren Thompson, head of cybersecurity strategy for CyberCube. “That’s why CyberCube is investing in research and development necessary to help the insurance industry anticipate how these attacks are evolving. It’s important to remember that the amount of ransomware attacks like Travelex which have gone public are just the tip of the iceberg.”

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