Cyberspace has enjoyed relative peace over the past few years due to a significant decline in ransomware attacks. This tranquility may be attributed to the combined efforts of several international intelligence agencies and various tech companies to eradicate cyberterrorism.
Unfortunately, the past few months have steadily increased ransomware attacks. A report by NCC Group reveals that the attacks are being staged by groups offering cyber attacks as a service. Moreover, the report highlights that Lockbit, one of the most notorious ransomware syndicates, is behind more than half the attacks.
In July alone, Lockbit managed 62 attacks compared to BlackBasta’s 24 and Hiveleaks’ 27, more than the latter and the former groups combined. BlackBasta and Hiveleaks have also increased their activities significantly in the past few months.
In 2021, there was a 105% increase in ransomware attacks worldwide. According to a 2022 Cyber Threat Report, these attacks mainly targeted healthcare facilities. Although the root cause of the sudden increase in cybercrime activity is still unknown, many experts allude to employees handling work in remote areas as the most likely cause.
What Caused the Sudden Rise in Ransomware Attacks?
The American government offered a 15 million dollar reward in May 2022 for information about Conti in a bid to deal with the organization permanently. American security agencies believed that Conti was undergoing some administrative and functional restructuring during that period. Thus, it was an opportune time to finish the organization for good.
Unfortunately, the remnants of Conti, after their ruin, sought out BlackBasta and Hiveleaks. The two were small groups at the time. Hence, the former Conti members easily captured the leadership and continued their terror reign.
Intelligence agencies were content that their efforts to dismantle Conti were successful and further surveillance of smaller ransomware groups. They never anticipated that the former leader of Conti would influence the activities of the smaller groups.
However, the Conti influence was too great, and their actions led to a spike in ransomware attacks in 2021 and 2022. The current trend projections indicate their activities will continue well into 2023.