Ransomware is now a multibillion-dollar industry and is anticipated to cost $20 billion in damages across the globe in 2021. Ransomware gangs are focused on causing maximum havoc to gain maximum profits. Last year, we learned about double extortion. However, that’s old news. Now we have triple extortion as the latest threat.

What’s going on?

Major attacks between the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 point to a new attack chain - the expansion of double extortion threat. This threat was embellished with another unique element resulting in the triple extortion process. This technique involves putting pressure on third-parties linked to the victims, including service providers, company clients, and external colleagues, as they are massively impacted by data breaches resulting from ransomware attacks.

Where it all started

The first prominent attack came in the form of the Vastaamo clinic attack in October 2020. The year-long breach ended in a ransomware attack and patient data theft. While the attackers demanded a hefty ransom from the healthcare provider, individual ransom demands were made from the patients.

And it escalated to

REvil (Sodinokibi) gang, in March, started leveraging DDoS attacks, along with making VOIP calls to journalists and business partners of the victims. The group operates as a RaaS and provides these services to its affiliates for free to apply greater pressure on the victim organization.

Top targets

  • The healthcare sector is likely to be most affected as it receives an average of 109 attack attempts every week. An average of 1,000 entities in the healthcare and utility sectors were targeted in the first trimester of 2021, which is a 21% increase, with a 7% increase in April alone.
  • The other top targets include the legal and insurance sectors.
  • While organizations based in Asia Pacific witness the most attacks at 51 times per week, Africa has witnessed the biggest increase that is up 14% since the start of the year.

The bottom line

With the constant waves of success, threat actors are on the quest for more efficient and lucrative business models. The triple extortion technique is surmised to be a result of the same. Experts have provided recommendations on how to deal with this latest threat.

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