A recent survey conducted by Radware, and published in its 2016-2017 Global Application and Network Security report, shows that almost half of companies have been subjected to a cyber-extortion attempt in 2016, mostly with ransomware.
49% of polled businesses said they had been issued with a ransom demand after a cyberattack in the past 12 month showing the threat of ransom-related attacks has risen considerably. Ransomware and data theft with a ransom charged for its safe return, is a highly profitable strategy for cybercriminals. More actors are now getting involved and are extorting huge sums out of businesses that are not prepared for these types of attacks.
The 2016-2017 Global Application and Network Security report confirms what many other surveys and studies have suggested – Ransomware is one of the biggest threats. According to the report, the majority of phishing campaigns are now used to install ransomware.
The majority of attacks are currently concentrating on servers, laptops and desktop computers, although the report warns that attackers may try to install ransomware on medical devices in the future. If medical devices are disabled and patients could suffer harm as a result, ransom payments are more likely to be paid.
The biggest worry for IT professionals is data leakage, which was rated as the main concern of 27% of polled IT professionals. The second biggest concern was service outage, rated by 19% of respondents, with 16% saying reputation loss and 9% customer/partner loss. Financial gain via ransoms was the biggest motivation behind 2016 cyberattacks according to 41% of respondents.
Due to the increased threat of ransomware and other ransom-related attacks, 7% of companies now report that they have Bitcoin on hand in case payment is required. However, even though massive ransom payments are now being demanded, 70% of companies still do not have a cyber-insurance policy and 40% of companies have not developed an incident response plan.
Malware is still a major threat. 55% of companies report that they had experienced a malware infection in the past 12 months. DDoS attacks have also increased in both frequency and severity. However, while massive 1Gbps+ DDoS attacks have made the headlines in recent weeks, these large attacks still only represent a small proportion of the total. 83% of DDoS attacks were lower than 1Gbps, although 2017 is likely to see these major DDoS attacks increase.
Radware predicts that the growth in IoT devices will see even greater numbers of devices added to botnets such as Mirai, meaning even larger DDoS attacks could be seen in 2017. Radware predicts an exponential rise in enclaved IoT devices in 2017.
Radware’s Global Application and Network Security report also predicts a rise in Phlashing Denial of Service (PDoS) attacks. These permanent DoS attacks are predicted to rise, in particular on data centers and IoT operations. These attacks are so severe that they permanently damage hardware, requiring reinstallation or replacement of equipment. Rather than just causing major disruption, attacks designed to destroy hardware are expect to rise in 2017.