Cyber Extortion activity reaches highest volume ever recorded in Q1 2023
Cyber extortion (Cy-X) activity reached the highest volume ever recorded in Q1 2023,according to Orange Cyber defense, a specialist arm of Orange Group.
In its new report, Cy-Xplorer 2023, the security arm examined data from 6,707 confirmed business victims and found that firms in 96 different countries were targeted by cybercriminals in the last year, impacting nearly half (49%) the countries in the world.
The shift observed in the geographical location of cyber extortion victims continues to accelerate, moving from the US (-21%), and Canada (-28%) to Southeast Asia region (+42%), the Nordics (+40%) and Latin America (+32%).
According to the report, whilst manufacturing continues to be the biggest industry impacted, the number of victims decreased 39%, with a shift towards the utilities sector, educational services and finance and insurance sectors.
Orange said that one of the main disruptors to the Cy-X ecosystem is the war in Ukraine slowing activities and causing threat actors to regroup before continuing their attacks.
As a result of consistently high-impact attacks, the report suggested that governments worldwide are starting to take more action – some forbid companies operating within their country to pay a ransom when demanded.
In the USA, Australia and elsewhere, authorities have made several official statements condemning foreign threat actors. While still on the backfoot, law enforcement is catching up, increasingly interrupting threat actors’ activities.
Hugues Foulon, CEO at Orange Cyberdefense, said: “Our research shows that industry and government collaboration is the key to driving down malicious cyber activity, as Cy-X is not a problem that businesses can solve on their own.
“We are yet to see the true impact of geopolitical events such as the Ukraine war in cyberspace, but increased initiatives being put in place at a government level are essential if we are to tackle the ever-present risks posed by threat actors”.
Despite the increase in victim numbers in the first quarter of 2023, there is hope that the continuous efforts to combat the Cy-X threat can yield more positive outcomes and victories this year, added Charl van der Walt, head of Security Research at Orange Cyberdefense. “But to achieve this, we must pull together as an industry and keep sharing information about threats and attacks.”
This week Russian-based cyber gang Clop has laid claim to a series of major security breaches at organisations including British Airways, the BBC and Boots.
To see what your firm can do to mitigate cyber-attacks, check out TI’s ransomware report here.
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