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Evolving ransomware attacks ‘strike hard and fast’, NCSC chief warns

by Reporter
01 July 2022 | 1 minute read

The CEO of UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has warned that ransomware is the biggest global cyber threat with attacks still evolving and “striking hard and fast”.

The head of the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), Lindy Cameron, has warned that ransomware is the biggest cyber security threat facing the world today, with the unrelenting attacks having the potential to significantly impact whole societies and economies.

"Even with a war raging in Ukraine, the biggest global cyber threat we still face is ransomware.

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"That tells you something of the scale of the problem.

"They are evolving rapidly, they are all-pervasive, they're increasingly offered by gangs as a service, lowering the bar for entry into cyber crime," Cameron said in a speech at Tel Aviv Cyber Week.

According to newly released figures from cyber security company WatchGuard, the volume of ransomware has risen significantly with the amount of detected activity in the first quarter of 2022 more than three times what was detected during the same period last year.

The report suggests that the emergence of aggressive ransomware and extortion operations including LAPSUS$ and BlackCat are behind what's described as "an ever-increasing ransomware and cyber-extortion threat landscape".

Cameron added that the NCSC has dealt with "nationally significant incidents" along with hundreds of general cyber incidents that "affect the UK more widely every year".

ISCOVER

While details of any specific instances of responding to ransomware incidents hadn't been revealed, Cameron warned that "these complex attacks have the potential to affect our societies and economies significantly", implying that the work of NCSC incident responders, alongside their counterparts in the industry and international counterparts prevented the attacks from having a major impact.

Working in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, Cameron added that the NCSC is working to understand the criminal system that helps drive ransomware attacks, studying the nature of ransomware gangs and the techniques they're using to facilitate ransomware campaigns that continue to evolve. However, Cameron was quick to mention that the NCSC's Active Cyber Defence Program has helped to disrupt cyber attacks targeting citizens.

"Ransomware attacks strike hard and fast.

"We want to make ransomware an unprofitable and unattractive business," Cameron said.

So far, the program has moved to remove millions of malicious URLs, and the suspicious email-reporting service, which has allowed the public to report over 10.5 million suspicious emails, leading to over 76,000 online scams being taken down.

"We want to help create a society that is resilient to cyber attacks, where cyber security is second nature to all of us," Cameron concluded.

[Related: Ransomware volume has doubled and Log4Shell detections tripled, researchers reveal]

 

Evolving ransomware attacks ‘strike hard and fast’, NCSC chief warns
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