75 per cent increase in ransomware attacks, cyber-security researchers discover

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75 per cent increase in ransomware attacks, cyber-security researchers discover
75 per cent increase in ransomware attacks, cyber-security researchers discover

This year, they discovered Cheerscrypt, a new ransomware variant that also targeted ESXi servers

Compared to the first half last year, a 75 per cent increase in ransomware attacks targeting Linux operating systems in the first half of 2022 have been discovered by cyber-security researchers.

For the first half of 2022, the team from Trend Micro observed the emergence of new Linux ransomware families.

“We observed how malicious actors favoured ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) methods for faster deployments and bigger payouts. They also used relatively new ransomware families in high-profile attacks and increasingly targeted Linux-based systems with attacks,” the researchers noted.

Based on the data, reported in the first six months of this year alone, there were 67 active RaaS and extortion groups and over 1,200 victim organisations.

To attack cloud environments, ransom-ware operators also resorted to both novel and tried-and-tested methods.

This year, they discovered Cheerscrypt, a new ransomware variant that also targeted ESXi servers.

“Successful infection of these servers, which are widely used by enterprises, could cause significant security issues in critical infrastructures,” the team warned.

Many companies around the world, in the beginning of 2022, began calling for most, if not all, of their workforce to return to the office on a full-time basis, a phenomenon aptly referred to as “the Great Return.”

Some companies, meanwhile, embraced permanent hybrid work or remote setups.

“This diffused labour pool, together with a widened digital attack surface, has made it increasingly difficult for cyber-security teams to keep different work structures secure, a susceptibility thread that cybercriminals are quick to pull on to launch critical attacks and exploit vulnerabilities,” said Trend Micro.

Allowing affiliates to buy or rent ransom-ware tools and infrastructures, the RaaS model also made waves in the first half of 2022.

“In our security predictions for this year, we foresaw that ransomware families would go after bigger targets using more advanced methods of extortion — a prediction that fits the bill of the notable ransomware families that we reported on in the first half of 2022,” the team noted.

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