Ransomware Trends: What to Expect in 2024

Ransomware Trends, new ransomware, cyber threats, cyber cryme, cybersecurity

Ransomware attacks vary in methods and targets, remaining as one of the main threats to enterprises and organizations. Users and cybersecurity experts alike must understand these new attack methodologies and technologies to create efficient prevention and remediation solutions and ensure data protection.

Last year was characterized by an unprecedented surge in ransomware attacks, with a significant increase in the number of organizations targeted globally. 

As organizations grapple with these new tactics employed by ransomware groups, it becomes crucial to dissect the trends observed in 2023 and anticipate the evolving landscape in 2024.

1. More personalized ransomware tactics

Experts believe ransomware groups will employ more personalized tactics in 2024, moving beyond simple data encryption and ransom demands. 

This prediction suggests that threat actors will use stolen data in calculated and personal ways to increase pressure on victims. This tactic aims to enhance the psychological impact on victims and increase the likelihood of ransom payment.

2. AI-powered cyber threats

Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing cyber threats by providing attackers with powerful tools for conducting more personalized and sophisticated attacks. 

AI-powered threats can analyze vast amounts of data to identify vulnerabilities, personalize phishing attacks, and adapt to defensive measures. Bruce Schneier, a cryptographer and computer security professional, predicts AI-powered mass spying highlights the potential for AI to play a pivotal role in cyber espionage, enabling attackers to conduct mass surveillance, identify organizational structures, and predict human behavior for malicious purposes.

Luckily, AI can also be a strong ally for cybersecurity. Learn more in our in-depth article about AI in cybersecurity.

3. Shift in ransomware focus and targets

Traditionally, ransomware attacks focused on individuals and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). However, there is a notable shift in the landscape, with attackers increasingly targeting larger entities such as corporations, critical infrastructure, and governmental organizations. 

This shift is driven by the potential for larger ransom payouts and the increased impact on critical operations. Sophisticated threat actors now carefully choose targets based on their financial capacity and strategic importance, demanding significantly higher ransom amounts.

4. Targeting account recovery methods

Attackers are becoming more strategic in their methods by targeting account recovery mechanisms. Instead of directly attacking user accounts, they exploit weaknesses in the account recovery process, with a significant connection to Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF)

Account recovery processes inherently involve altering or resetting account credentials, making them susceptible targets for CSRF exploits. Through CSRF, attackers can compel end users to inadvertently execute actions, mirroring the modus operandi of CSRF attacks in manipulating actions such as fund transfers or email address modifications.

To counteract these threats, organizations must apply security practices, like regular assessments and collaboration with cybersecurity experts, emphasized for CSRF prevention, ultimately ensuring the resilience and security of recovery processes.

5. Rise of mobile ransomware

With the widespread use of mobile devices, cybercriminals are capitalizing on this trend by developing and deploying ransomware specifically designed for mobile platforms

Mobile ransomware targets smartphones and tablets, encrypting user data and demanding ransoms for decryption keys. 

The rise of mobile ransomware poses a significant threat to individuals and businesses alike, considering the extensive use of mobile devices for both personal and professional activities.

6. Leveraging dormant and aging domains

Cybersecurity experts believe ransomware groups tend to leverage dormant and aging domains in their attack strategies in 2024. 

These domains, often owned by unaffiliated third parties, are kept inactive until ready for activation in cyberattacks. The prediction anticipates a significant increase in the use of such dormant domains for phishing and malware distribution campaigns. 

7. Increased use of advanced bots

Advanced bots, powered by AI, are increasingly being leveraged in cyber threats. These bots can mimic human behavior, making them more challenging to detect. They play a role in various cyber activities, from spreading malware and conducting reconnaissance to launching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks

The ability of advanced bots to learn and adapt in real-time poses a serious challenge to traditional cybersecurity defenses, necessitating the development of advanced threat detection mechanisms.

8. Rise of supply chain attacks

Cyber attackers are shifting their focus to exploit vulnerabilities within supply chains. Rather than directly targeting a specific organization, adversaries compromise the security of suppliers or service providers connected to the target entity. 

This strategy allows attackers to infiltrate the target’s network indirectly, often bypassing traditional defenses. 

Supply chain attacks can have widespread consequences, affecting multiple organizations within an interconnected network. As a result, there is a growing need for organizations to enhance supply chain cybersecurity measures and conduct thorough risk assessments.

How to prevent and respond to ransomware in 2024 

Preventing and responding to ransomware attacks in 2024 requires a proactive and multi-faceted approach

Organizations should implement robust cybersecurity measures, including the deployment of advanced threat detection systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies can swiftly identify and mitigate evolving ransomware threats, offering unparalleled opportunities to enhance the speed and accuracy of detecting anomalies. 

Additionally, regular security assessments and employee training on cybersecurity best practices are pivotal in creating a resilient defense against ransomware. 

For comprehensive protection against ransomware threats and tailored cybersecurity solutions, organizations are encouraged to leverage the expertise of cybersecurity consulting services. 

Proven Data’s cybersecurity consulting services provide a strategic and customized approach to fortifying digital defenses. Our team of experts stays abreast of the latest threats and defenses, offering invaluable insights and guidance. 

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