Five predictions for how ransomware attacks will develop in 2021

Published: Friday, 04 December 2020 09:26

The business of ransomware boomed during 2020 and this trend is expected to continue through 2021. With certain patterns already developing, data integrity company Index Engines makes the following predictions for the effects of ransomware in 2021...

Cyber criminals will concentrate attacks on the most critical industries, including healthcare and manufacturing organizations

While financial services will always be a target, they often have more infrastructure invested in protecting their corporate data assets. Cyber criminals want easy money and will heavily pursue less guarded and more vulnerable industries.

The global health crisis has already made healthcare a prime candidate for delivering ransoms. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Department of Health and Human Services released an advisory to the Healthcare and the Public Health Sector in October about RYUK attacks. These, unfortunately, will continue.

Manufacturing organizations have built out an IT infrastructure that relies heavily on networks of communication with suppliers.  These Internet-enabled networks increase their vulnerability and makes them easier targets.  

Attacks will find more sophisticated ways to get into your data center / centre

Cyber criminals are deploying advanced technologies, including machine learning, to aid them in penetrating security defenses / defences.  We have seen attacks in 2020 that hid inside virtual machines and cache copies of data to circumvent traditional security software.

In 2021 you can be assured that cyber criminals will ramp up their game and find new and sophisticated methods of attacking organizations.  This presents an overwhelming challenge to real-time security solutions that will struggle to keep up. 

What can be done? Organizations need tools with advanced analytics to examine the content of their data, including critical infrastructure, as a last line of defense.  You can be assured that at some point in 2021 you will be attacked, so check your data’s integrity to ensure it is protected. 

CISOs are going to focus more time and budget on recovering from an attack

Cyber attacks are becoming more intelligent. Criminals are spending increased dwell time to determine how to cause the most destruction and are also looking for the most sensitive content that when stolen will cause the most harm to an organization, resulting in higher ransom requests. Ransoms for some recent attacks have skyrocketing to the tens of millions of dollars. Organizations will find themselves spending significant budget recovering from these attacks, including costs from time dedicated to recovering business operations.

Forensic analysis reporting will become critical in understanding the who, what, where, and when of an attack. Using advanced reports to inspect the data and understand the evidence of what occurred will streamline the recovery process and allow an organization to minimize business downtime.

Cyber attacks will put a renewed focus on data governance

In 2020 cyber criminals added a new tactic to their arsenal. They started to steal sensitive data and publish it on the Internet for the world to see: sensitive patient records, legal contracts, intellectual property. This content causes much harm and embarrassment to the impacted organization. 
With cyber attacks now becoming data breaches, organizations will need to ramp up their data governance initiatives. They will need to know what sensitive data exists, where it is, and how they can secure and protect it. Otherwise they will be facing fines due to new regulatory initiatives including the GDPR in the EU. 

Backup infrastructure will look very different and see a noticeable transformation

Backup has not seen a lot of innovation over the last decade. There was tape and then disk. Much of the analyst conversations end here. “It’s just backup, another copy of data.” It’s been left to accumulate in the mountains for decades with little management or thought.

But cyber attacks have generated a renewed focus on backup. It’s often the only solution for recovering from an attack. And there are newer, better, backup solutions that have expanded into cyber recovery solutions that provide sophisticated analytics, smarter machine learning, and isolated air-gaps for added security with confidence. These are currently being utilized by early adopters and organizations that have already gone through an attack. These better backup/cyber solutions will quickly become the industry standard.

www.indexengines.com/cybersense