Management in Cyber Criminals’ Crosshairs Warns Study

Cyber criminals are turning their attention on senior management at large companies as they seek new ways of extorting money according to a new report.

CyberCube has today published a study that warns organised criminals and hackers are moving away from “high volume, low-value” methods of attack to, target senior managers who have access to organisations’ bank accounts and are in a position to authorise payments.

The report, Understanding Ransomware Trends, predicts that criminals will more closely calibrate their ransom demands to an organisation’s financial performance, data assets and other measurables. This includes appetite and ability to pay ransoms.

Criminals are also predicted to use artificial intelligence to construct algorithms that will ‘hunt’ for individual targets while deciding which of their “buttons to press” in order to obtain the maximum degree of compliance.

Overall, the report contends, the nature of ransomware attacks is changing with greater focus on organisations rather than private individuals. According to figures from cyber security firm Symantec, the volume of cyber attacks focusing on consumers has fallen from 69% in 2016 to 19% in 2018. In hand with this, payment demands are increasing, rising to millions of dollars in some instances.

Oliver Brew, (pic) CyberCube’s Head of Client Services and one of the report’s authors, said: “The business model for cyber crime is evolving rapidly. 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 organised criminal groups conduct carefully targeted ransomware attacks, which mark a move away from the traditional high volume, low-value approach.”

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