Outline research reveals ransomware is back on the rise as cybercriminals’ motivation shifts towards data exfiltration


SAN FRANCISCO, January 30, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Outlinesleading provider of solutions that seamlessly extend Privileged Access Management (PAM), today released its annual “Ransomware status” report showing that ransomware attacks are on the rise again and reveals a shift in cybercriminals’ strategy. The familiar tactics of crippling a company and holding it hostage have been replaced by new strategies that use stealth to exfiltrate private data and sensitive.Cybercriminals often threaten to sell it to the highest bidder on the darknet or exploit it to collect a nice cyber insurance payout.

Titled “State of Ransomware 2024: Get ahead of the battle and strengthen your defenses“, the report analyzed data from a Censuswide survey of more than 300 U.S. IT and security decision makers to identify significant changes from the previous year’s report data and uncover possible new trends. First, ransomware is back in increase.Although not returning to 2021 levels, the number of organizations reporting they have been victims of ransomware in the past 12 months has more than doubled compared to last year, from 25% to 53%.Mid-sized companies Cybercriminals appear to be targeting the majority, with 65% reporting they have been a victim of ransomware in the past 12 months, and organizations are paying ransoms more frequently, up to 76% compared to 68% this year. previous.

More surprising, however, are the emerging trends in motivations, strategies and tactics revealed by the survey. Data exfiltration saw a 39% increase (reported by 64% of respondents, up from 46%) and has become a favorite target for attackers, who are now taking control of a company’s network to download data sensitive to sell on the darknet. This trend is also highlighted by the significant decline in traditional money stealing as the primary motivation (34%, down from 69% the previous year).

“It certainly appears that ransomware has reached a sea change: it is no longer just about quick and easy payments,” said Rick Hanson, President of Delinea. “Even as organizations are investing more in safety nets such as cyber insurance, which often have ransomware payments included in coverage policies, cybercriminals are finding that using stealth tactics to stay under the radar and access sensitive information and valuable to sell is the best investment of their efforts.”

As their primary targets have changed, cybercriminals have changed their tactics and moved away from using email as their preferred attack vector (52% to 37%), targeting the cloud instead (44%). ) and compromised applications (39%). By taking a more covert approach, attackers can stay hidden longer and gain continuous access to systems and data, allowing them to ramp up the damage whenever they want.

Conflicting trends have emerged regarding the measures organizations are taking against ransomware. While 91% indicated they had ransomware-specific budget allocations, compared to 68% in 2022, only 61% (down from 76%) said security budgets were allocated following a attack, which could be due to economic uncertainty or tighter budgets. Despite believing they could strengthen defenses by investing more in critical areas such as privileged access management (28%, up from 16%), respondents appeared to lack clarity on how increased spending would help improve security. On a positive note, executives and boards are now listening as 76% reported that their leadership is concerned about ransomware, but perhaps only after an attack.

“The changing strategies and tactics in ransomware attacks require a layered approach to security that reduces the risk of unauthorized access, even when credentials are compromised,” said Joseph Carson, Advisory CISO and Chief Security Scientist at Delinea. “It also shows the critical role that privileged access plays in overall cybersecurity postures.”

To download a free copy of the report, visit https://delinea.com/resources/ransomware-2024-research-report.

About Delinea

Delinea is a leading provider of Privileged Access Management (PAM) solutions for the modern, hybrid enterprise. The Delinea platform seamlessly extends PAM by providing authorization for all identities, granting access to an organization’s most critical hybrid cloud infrastructure and sensitive data to help reduce risk, ensure compliance and simplify safety. Delineate removes complexity and defines access boundaries for thousands of customers around the world. Our clients range from small businesses to the world’s largest financial institutions, intelligence agencies and critical infrastructure companies. Find out more about Outline on LinkedIn, TwitterAND Youtube.

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