Ransomware Attacks Increased 67% in 2023

Ransomware Attacks Increased 67% in 2023

Todd Faulk Todd Faulk
Updated on: May 1, 2024

The number of ransomware cyberattacks and similar online extortion schemes soared 67% worldwide from 2022 to 2023, according to a new report released by cybersecurity firm NTT Security Holdings in April.

The company’s 2024 Global Threat Intelligence Report stated that the firm had identified more than 5,000 cyber incidents across the globe in which victims lost money. The real number is likely much higher due to victims’ reluctance to report the crimes.

“We expect [the number of ransomware attacks] to soar in 2024 as threat actors create more sophisticated attacks using artificial intelligence to exploit growing attack surfaces and take advantage of limited cyber budgets and staff shortages,” said Jeremy Nichols, the director of NTT Security Holdings’ Global Threat Intelligence Center.

A key finding of the report found that small- and medium-sized businesses and organizations faced the greatest number of attacks, probably because they don’t have the cyber resources to plug vulnerabilities in their IT systems or to train employees on the ever-evolving cyber threat landscape. The report said 66% of ransomware victims had fewer than 500 employees.

Humans remain the greatest vulnerability in giving cyberattackers unauthorized access to IT systems. With companies relying more on cloud computing, third-party contractors, and employees bringing their own equipment to the workplace, the access vectors are increasing all the time. All it takes is one errant click to give malicious actors control of a firm’s computer systems and databases.

Cyberattackers using ransomware are increasingly targeting organizations once considered off-limits, such as healthcare providers, non-profit organizations, and energy companies, NTT Security Holdings found. For instance, some attackers have no compunction about releasing patients’ medical records unless ransoms are paid.

Ransomware actors like targeting operators of critical infrastructure, supply chains, and financial services as well because, if stricken, they come under great pressure to get their IT systems back online as quickly as possible, and paying the ransom is usually the most expedient method, the cybersecurity firm’s report stated.

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