One in seven ransomware extortion attempts leak key operational tech records

One in seven ransomware extortion data leaks reveals business-critical operational technology data, researchers say. 

Ransomware has evolved from barebone encryption and basic demands for payment into something potentially far more severe in recent years. 

Once, ransomware was used en masse to infect systems and extort blackmail payments from the general public – normally in cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin (BTC) – but now, operators are targeting high-value targets for larger payoffs. 

In what some cybersecurity experts call “big game hunting,” ransomware groups go for large enterprise firms, utilities, hospitals, and key supply chain players. 

While it may take longer to perform the reconnaissance required to enter networks owned by large companies, once entry has been obtained, it is possible that one attack can land them millions of dollars. 

Colonial Pipeline is an example of just how debilitating a ransomware attack can be. The fuel supplier’s systems were hijacked by ransomware in 2021 by DarkSide, and while a $4.4 million ransom was paid to restore Colonial Pipeline’s network, the damage was already done — the attack prompted panic buying and fuel shortages across the United States. 

However, ransomware attacks against the enterprise now go further. Cisco Secure coined the term “one-two-punch” extortion, in which

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