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Ransomware-based extortion hits new high in July


Russian-based hacker group responsible for much of the activity

The number of ransomware attacks posted on extortion websites reached a record high in July, according to data from The Record. Ransomware groups publicly claimed more than 15 attacks per day, on average.

Ransomware on the rise: ©Prostock Studio -

Ransomware on the rise: ©Prostock Studio -

In July, there were 484 ransomware attacks, up from 408 in June. The Russia-based Clop ransomware group was largely responsible for the surge by exploiting a vulnerability (now patched) in the MOVEit file transfer tool to breach global computer networks. These attacks accounted for 35% of all publicly reported targets in July, and included some huge companies: Shell, Siemens Energy, a major U.S. public pension fund and targets in the education sector. There were 484 attacks spread across 38 groups in July, compared to 214 attacks across 24 groups the same time last year.

“With ransomware, cybercriminals don't need to be sophisticated hackers to execute sophisticated attacks,” said Emily Phelps, director, Cyware, in a statement. “Ransomware has a low barrier for entry, and with the emergence of ransomware-as-a-Service, it requires virtually no technical skills to execute a successful attack. It's profitable and harder to trace, with many adversaries dealing in cryptocurrencies.”

She said that preventing successful ransomware attacks requires organizations to take multiple actions, which include keeping software and systems patched and updated; regularly maintaining and isolating backups; and conducting regular security awareness training, among other things.

Practices should not expect the ransomware threat to subside anytime soon.

“Ransomware attacks continue to rise and the battle continues,” said Carol Volk, executive vice president, BullWall, in a statement. “We must learn from every event, improving our security posture, as the fallout from such attacks can be devastating to a business in terms of lost revenue, business disruption and long-term reputational damage.

“While the hope of a magical AI silver bullet to protect us is still just a dream, we have to own our own protection and apply the best defense available within the resources available to us.”

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