The year 2022 saw a breakout in ransomware attacks as the cybersecurity threat wreaked havoc on individuals and organizations worldwide. This trend is expected to persist in 2023 and beyond, making it crucial for businesses to stay informed about the latest ransomware trends and take measures to safeguard themselves against this growing threat.
In this post, we will explore the ransomware predictions and trends to watch out for in 2023.
Cyber Security Predictions for 2023:
- 30% of organizations will adopt Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) models by 2024. (Gartner)
- 60% of organizations, along with investors and venture capitalists, will use cybersecurity risk as a key factor in assessing new business opportunities by 2025. (Gartner)
- By 2025, 30% of nation-states will enact legislation to regulate ransomware payments and negotiations. (Gartner)
- 40% of boards of directors will have a cybersecurity committee by 2025, as stricter cybersecurity measures become a top priority. (Gartner)
- 70% of CEOs will invest in an organizational culture of cyber resilience by 2025. (Gartner)
- IoT devices are predicted to be increasingly used by attackers to carry out ransomware attacks in 2023 and beyond. (RSA Security via Security Boulevard)
- Yearly revenue for the corporate web security industry has increased annually since 2016 and is expected to reach nearly $8 billion by 2025.
Here are the Top Ransomware Trends you should be Aware of in 2023:
1. Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS)
One of the biggest trends in ransomware is the increased use of Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). It is a growing trend in the world of cybercrime, which has made it easier for even novice attackers to carry out successful ransomware attacks. In RaaS, attackers use a platform provided by another party to launch ransomware attacks, eliminating the need for them to have extensive technical knowledge or to develop their malware.
This trend has been driven by the increasing availability of RaaS platforms, which often offer a range of features and services, such as malware customization, support, and even a payment system for collecting ransom payments. With these platforms, attackers can easily launch ransomware attacks against their targets, with the RaaS provider taking a percentage of the ransom payments as payment for their services. This has increased the number of ransomware attacks and has made it more important than ever for organizations and individuals to take steps to protect themselves.
2. Increased Use of Zero-Day Exploits
Exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities has become a popular trend among ransomware attackers, as it allows them to carry out attacks against victims who have not yet had a chance to patch their systems. A zero-day vulnerability is a security weakness in software or hardware that is unknown to the vendor and can be exploited by attackers before a patch is released.
By exploiting these vulnerabilities, attackers can gain access to systems and networks and install ransomware, often without the target’s knowledge. The use of zero-day vulnerabilities in ransomware attacks is particularly dangerous because it allows attackers to bypass traditional security measures, such as firewalls and antivirus software, which are designed to protect against known threats. In 2023, we are likely to see an increase in the number of zero-day exploits used in ransomware attacks.
3. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
The use of AI-powered security solutions is gaining momentum, as they can detect and prevent threats in a more timely and precise manner compared to conventional security methods. Additionally, these solutions can employ predictive analytics to forecast potential threats and take preventative measures before they happen. However, AI can be used by cybercriminals and perhaps be even more impactful.
It is one of the latest trends in ransomware attacks, which allows hackers to automate the attack process and make it more sophisticated and difficult to detect. With AI and machine learning, ransomware attacks can now evade security systems and spread rapidly across networks, causing significant damage to organizations.
4. Targeted Attacks on Critical Infrastructure
Targeted attacks on critical infrastructure are a growing concern as they have the potential to cause widespread harm and disruption. In this year, it is expected that ransomware attacks will increasingly focus on critical infrastructure, such as power plants, water treatment facilities, and healthcare organizations.
Critical infrastructure refers to the systems and assets that are essential for the functioning of a society and economy. This can include power grids, transportation systems, healthcare facilities, and communication networks. When these systems are targeted by ransomware attacks, they can be brought to a halt, causing widespread disruption and putting lives at risk.
Automation has become indispensable for systematically and securely handling increasingly larger amounts of data. As this continues to evolve, even adversaries are taking advantage of its time-saving and cost-saving benefits. In the realm of ransomware, attacker groups are leveraging automation to maximize revenue and reduce the risk of human error.
The penetration stage of a ransomware attack, which traditionally requires a significant investment of time and effort, can now be streamlined thanks to automation. This presents a significant challenge for businesses, as they will need to fend off an increased number of attacks while already dealing with the lateral spread of malware within their systems.
Leading ransomware groups, such as Cerber, have already begun incorporating blockchain technology to make their attacks more efficient.
6. Rise in Mobile Device Attacks
Mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular, and cybercriminals are taking advantage of this trend by developing ransomware that specifically targets these devices, getting their hands on our confidential data, including photos, emails, financial transactions, and messages. Furthermore, we must be prepared for the imminent growth of smartphone viruses and malware predicted by cybersecurity trends over the next few years.
7. Challenges with Remote Work
Remote work, which gained widespread popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic, has become a permanent fixture for many businesses and shows no signs of disappearing. However, the shift to remote work has presented new challenges, including increased cyber risk. A recent report indicated that 20% of organizations suffered a breach in 2022 due to a remote worker. While remote work provides greater flexibility and new opportunities, it also creates difficulties such as maintaining productivity and accountability among employees and fostering a sense of community in a remote setting. The expanded attack surface is a major concern for businesses, as remote work greatly increases their vulnerability to cyberattacks.
8. Insider Threats
Employees can pose a significant threat to businesses, particularly as cyber-security risks continue to rise. Insider threats are a major concern as insiders, who have access to sensitive company information, can intentionally or unintentionally cause harm by leaking data, sabotaging systems, or installing malware. Malicious insiders may also use social engineering techniques to gain unauthorized access to protected information.
9. Geo-Targeted Phishing Attempts
Geo-targeted phishing attacks are becoming increasingly common, making it imperative for companies to be prepared. These malicious emails are designed to target specific users based on their location, often using region-specific language and emoji’s to make them appear more credible.