The year 2022 is a promising one for many businesses. Unfortunately, ransomware has also made the lucky list. For quite a while now, the spread of malware designed to encrypt machines until a ransom is paid has been a truly lucrative source of income for many threat actors. The damage from ransomware to businesses worldwide in 2021 is estimated at $20 billion, and the number of companies impacted has more than doubled since 2020. In an era when an ever-growing threat of cyber-attacks drives the world, it is crucial to employ the most efficient tactics and techniques. With innovative cybersecurity solutions such as SOC Prime’s platform and Uncoder CTI, the detection and response to cyber-attacks are made easier, faster, and more efficient. These solutions are indispensable to every cybersecurity professional’s toolkit to sustain hard-to-breach systems’ protection.

With ransomware crippling businesses’ day-to-day flows and putting enormous financial strain both on small startups and renowned organizations, the best option is to keep one’s finger on the pulse of this notorious market. The article offers a succinct yet comprehensive overview of ransomware predictions for 2022, when ransomware has already reached epidemic proportions. Remember, the lighting strikes twice when it comes to ransomware, so it would be smart to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. 

So, without further ado, let’s dive right in, shall we?

What to Expect in the Ransomware Market?

  • More Ransomware 

Ransomware rapidly increases its volume and reach, all the while becoming more sophisticated and expensive to deal with. According to researchers, ransomware demands have surged by 518% in the first half of 2021 in comparison to 2020. At the dawn of 2022, the numbers continue to progress steadily. Double and triple extortion tactics, as well as the RaaS business, are currently at the peak of popularity amongst threat actors.

The magnification of ransomware in 2022 is nothing short of a digital pandemic, so the demand for cybersecurity professionals and effective tools to fight off the fast-expanding attacks’ scene continues to increase. There is a dire need to invest in cyber skills’ improvement, and with SOC Prime’s Cyber Library, both rookie cyber heads and seasoned experts can boost their SIEM hard skills with direct access to free materials on cybersec from the industry leaders.

  • Ransomware Attacks Go Beyond Earth 

As researchers report, a surge in ransomware attacks over the last few years is truly alarming. What we witness today is malware conquering new heights, i.e., space. The real threat resides in the fact that space systems, to a great extent, enable the day-to-day operations of many critical infrastructures on Earth, such as energy, banking, communication, and transportation systems. One such target of increased interest and value is satellite technologies. There are numerous instances of hackers getting into systems that run satellites, usually common OSes like Unix or Linux. With the ever-growing digitalization, the consequences of attacks against space assets are dire. 

Ransomware high-dollar crimes are expanding their reach at warp speed, moving toe-to-toe with humankind itself as we broaden our horizons. The main, yet, surprisingly, preventable reason is the lack of universal cybersecurity standards and regulations for commercial satellites.

  • Multi-Vector Attacks 

Today’s threat landscape is abundant with adversaries that employ multiple attack vectors. With the goal of increasing their chances of successfully breaking into the system, hackers adopt the combination of threats to deploy across different points of entry. Multi-vector attacks require more time, human, and material investment, but their ROI ratios are often worth the trouble for threat actors. 

In order to thwart multiple vector ransomware campaigns or at least lessen the severity of the damage, endpoint protection, and mitigation solutions require a thorough multi-vector security strategy that includes the coverage of all attack stages. SOC Prime’s platform for collaborative cyber defense, threat hunting and discovery could serve as a cost-efficient solution for organizations striving to boost their cyber defense capabilities at full scale. 

  • New Technologies and Ransomware

Technologies do not stand still, reaching new milestones every single day. Ransomware attacks are part of this progress, morphing from spray-and-pray blasts to thoroughly targeted, highly technological, thus extremely damaging infections. Technology has created a market enabling threat actors to make good money fast. Today, adversaries can demand ransom through different means of digital payments (such as cryptocurrencies payments or pre-paid cards) that are difficult to trace.

Another technological breakthrough of recent years, artificial intelligence, enables defenders and threat actors to use its offshoot, machine learning, to boost their processes. The latter adopt these technologies to make attack campaigns more coordinated through automation.

Cloud data is the new Holy Grail for attackers. Ransomware that targets this modern-day’s Holy Grail is named random cloud, and it is opening new horizons for adversaries to put to use. Cloud computing boosted the rapid uptick in a new generation of ransomware by establishing a ripe target – remote servers and cloud-stored data – for adversaries to take over.

Developing strong security hygiene in the cloud must be an ongoing effort.

As technology continues to advance – hacks evolve, and organizations must adapt. 

  • No Honor Among Thieves

Numerous ransomware gangs leveraged the COVID-19 pandemic to escalate their attacks. In this already hostile environment, threat actors are becoming more ruthless in their chase for revenue. 

Since 2020, we have started seeing more and more attacks against the healthcare industry. Exploiting the fact that medical facilities cannot afford to shut down, it doesn’t take much time for hackers to see; for example, a hospital complies with their demands to maintain its vital operations. When in September 2020, the Duesseldorf University Hospital fell victim to the ransomware compromise, the system failure cost a human life. Today, many hacker groups will stop at nothing, hacking life-supporting medical equipment, compromising patients’ data, or freezing all processes within a healthcare establishment altogether, putting many lives at risk for the sake of financial gain.

Wrapping Up

The number of ransomware attacks in 2021 has far surpassed prior year records. Ransomware is on a rampage, challenging cybersecurity professionals and causing severe financial and reputational tolls on businesses and organizations globally. According to the current data, the massive boom in the number of ransomware occurrences is expected to inflict financial damage estimated at striking $265 billion by 2031. What we are left within 2022, is to do our cybersecurity diligence or suffer the consequences of an imminent threat that ransomware is.