In its latest report, JUMPSEC reveals that attacker-reported ransomware attacks increased by 87 per cent in the UK and 37 per cent globally in the first half of 2023. This follows reports of ransomware growth slowing at the end of 2022.
JUMPSEC now expects 2023 to be the most prolific year for ransomware, surpassing the previous highs of 2021. JUMPSEC identified 436 attacks worldwide in July 2023, 20 per cent higher than the previous all-time high caused by Log4j in 2021.
The mass exploitation of software vulnerabilities is perhaps the most clear-cut contributing factor to the rise of ransomware attacks in 2023. Several vulnerabilities discovered in widely used platforms have contributed to rising attack figures (Rackspace, Zimbra, and most notably the MOVEit).
Another 2023 trend reported by JUMPSEC is the increased exploitation of the financial services, insurance, and IT sectors, both globally and within the UK. With organisations increasingly opting only to exfiltrate data as leverage for extortion these sectors are becoming increasingly lucrative targets.
Another explanation for rising attack figures is simply the proliferation of more ransomware variants as JUMPSEC has monitored 20 per cent more ransomware groups in 2023 than in 2022.
Sean Moran, JUMPSEC’s Researcher said, “We have observed a trend towards the increased personalisation of attacks, which could indicate victims have become less inclined to pay ransoms, causing attackers to exert greater pressure. Unfortunately, recent reports of rising cryptocurrency profits by known ransomware threat actors suggest that attacker negotiation tactics have been effective. Organisations need to continually refine their response to cyber extortion as attackers develop new strategies around mass exploitation of software vulnerabilities, and data exfiltration, whilst becoming increasingly personal by targeting individuals and senior leadership within victim organisations.”