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Ransomware attacks are becoming increasingly targeted

(Image credit: Pixabay)

Ransomware operators are losing interest in wide net attack strategies. Instead, they’re more inclined towards targeted attacks, in which they know exactly who they’re targeting, why and for how much money.

This is according to a new report from cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, which states that the number of ransomware attacks has been steadily declining over the years. Between 2019 and 2020, the total number of users that encountered ransomware across all platforms declined from 1,537,465 to 1,091,454, representing a 29 percent drop.

At the same time, ransomware attacks that focus on high-profile targets (corporations, government and municipal agencies and healthcare organizations) spiked 767 percent.

Of all the different ransomware families that criminals use, WannaCry is still the most popular one. It gained its notoriety in 2017, when it led to damages of at least $4 billion across 150 countries. Almost a quarter (22 percent) of all ransomware victims from 2019 encountered WannaCry, dropping to 16 percent in 2020.

“We’ll most likely see fewer and fewer widespread campaigns targeting everyday users. Of course, that’s not to say users aren’t still vulnerable. However, the primary focus will likely continue to be on companies and large organizations, and that means ransomware attacks will continue to become more sophisticated and more destructive,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, security expert at Kaspersky. “It’s imperative that businesses adopt a holistic, comprehensive set of security practices to protect their data.”

Kaspersky recommends businesses keep their software updated, focus on detecting lateral movements across the network, carry out regular cybersecurity audits, educate their employees on the dangers of cybercrime and set up a state-of-the-art cybersecurity solutions.