Ransomware ‘business’ is hot as attacks surge

Healthcare and utilities sectors are most targeted

Ransomware has become a hot business model.

The number of organizations affected by ransomware has jumped 102% compared to the beginning of 2020 and “shows no sign of slowing down,” according to a research note last month from IT security firm Check Point, adding that the number of organizations impacted by ransomware globally has more than doubled in the first half of 2021 compared with 2020.

The healthcare and utilities sectors are the most targeted sectors since the beginning of April 2021, according to the note.

Driving this surge is the Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) model. Criminals favor RaaS because it leverages a partner program to execute cyberattacks, serving to shield the real actors behind the attacks, Check Point said.

The business model

Darkside, the group behind the Colonial Pipeline attack, had been the leading light in RaaS (though it claimed in May to be shutting down). And other groups have followed its lead.

“Many of them now have help desks, technical support, payroll processing and subcontractors. They are essentially full-fledged criminal enterprises operating in the digital world,” Amit Yoran, CEO of cybersecurity firm Tenable, told FOX Business.

“They are essentially full-fledged criminal corporations operating in the digital world,” Yoran said.