The decline in the total number of U.S. data breaches in 2020 isn't all good news; it reflects that hackers are changing their tactics, says James Lee of the Identity Theft Resource Center, who offers an analysis of the center's new data breach report.
The Fonix ransomware gang has closed down its operations and has released a decryptor key, according to Malwarebytes and Kaspersky. But security researchers warn the gang, like others, might re-emerge with new tactics.
The latest edition of the ISMG Security Report features an analysis of the persistent threat of ransomware. Also featured: Sorting out breaches tied to Accellion’s File Transfer Appliance; an update on fraud trends in 2021.
Maze was one of the most notorious and successful ransomware operations of recent years until its apparent "retirement" and handover to Egregor in November 2020. Some rivals have suggested both groups have ties to the Russian government. But is that just sour grapes, or even simply an attempted scam?
Ransomware operations continue to come and go. The notorious Maze ransomware gang retired last year, apparently replaced by Egregor, while new operators, such as Pay2Key, RansomEXX and Everest, have emerged. But in recent months, experts say, just six operations have accounted for 84% of attacks.
To take down bigger targets more easily and quickly, ransomware gangs are increasingly tapping initial access brokers, who sell ready access to high-value networks. Economically speaking, it's a no-brainer move for cybercrime gangs.
Ransomware attacks continue to pummel organizations, but fewer victims have been paying a ransom, and when they do, on average they're paying less than before, says ransomware incident response firm Coveware, which traces the decline to attackers failing to honor their data deletion promises.
The number of data breaches being reported in the U.S. and elsewhere each year continues to decline. But security experts say this unfortunately can be explained by criminals increasingly focusing on lucrative ransomware and business email compromise scams, which require scant data to be successful.
U.S. and Bulgarian authorities have seized servers and disrupted the infrastructure and darknet websites of the Netwalker ransomware gang. Police have also arrested one person and confiscated ransom money collected by the cybercriminal gang. The news comes the same week the Emotet botnet was disrupted.
The operators of the Nefilim ransomware used the credentials of a deceased system administrator to plant their crypto-locking malware in about 100 vulnerable systems during one attack, according to Sophos. These types of "ghost" accounts are an increasing issue for security teams.
With ransomware continuing to fuel a massive surge in illicit profits, some experts have been calling on governments to launch offensive hacking teams to target cybercrime cartels. They're also calling for a review of cyber insurance payouts being used to fund ransoms.
The Austrian construction equipment manufacturing firm Palfinger AG reports being hit with a cyberattack that has knocked the majority of its worldwide IT infrastructure offline, eliminating its ability to use email and conduct business.
Good news on the cybercrime front: "Cryptocurrency-related crime fell significantly in 2020," compared to 2019, reports blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. Unfortunately, in the same timeframe, ransomware profits surged 311%, stoking calls for a crackdown on ransom payments.