UK firms at 'significant risk' of cyber-ransom as hackers target efforts

Josh Hall's picture
by Josh Hall

The cybersecurity threat to UK businesses is growing as hackers step up their efforts to target specific organisations.

This is according to cyber security software provider Comtact, who suggest that the tactics used by cyber criminals are changing.

In the past, hackers had relied on "economies of scale" to conduct ransom attacks, adopting a scattergun approach that extracted smaller ransom payments from a large number of potentially susceptible organisations.

Over the course of 2018, however, these individuals and groups began targeting their efforts more intensely, focusing on business-critical systems and information in particular businesses.

The research is backed up by an investigation by the National Cyber Security Centre, published in 2018.

The potential losses involved in an attack can be significant. Comtact give the example of a mid-sized law firm targeted last year, which they say was forced to pay a £2 million ransom in order to retrieve critical information.

Comtact chief technical officer Joe Bertnick said: "Previously, ransomware has been thought of as a mass market attack. The shift to more targeted attacks over the past 6 months represents a major threat.

"Cyber criminals understand the high 'value' of the data held by legal firms, so by targeting these firms and denying access to business-critical files and systems, we've seen ransomware attacks result in truly eye-watering payments in the millions."

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