Ransomware attacks Are Increasing Rapidly – Why?

image provided by pixabay

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

Ransomware attacks are no new matter, but their numbers seem to be growing rapidly. The cybersecurity company Barracuda states that the number of reported ransomware attacks has doubled since last year. They claim that the AI boom has impacted security in general and ransomware in particular.

Experts in Barracuda state that AI-powered cyberattacks like phishing helped “drive ransomware to new heights as the frequency of ransomware attacks continues to climb with no sign of slowing down.”

According to Cybernews, the researchers analyzed 175 cases of successful ransomware attacks, while focusing on municipalities, healthcare, and education, and found that such attacks have doubled since last year and more than quadrupled since 2021.

The researchers explained that these types of targets are favored because they lack resources and if compromised can cause an immediate and potentially severe impact on human lives, which is exploited by cybercriminals to increase the likelihood of getting paid. Furthermore, in many countries, at least one of those sectors is obliged to publicly disclose a cyber incident, making the impact more visible.

The relation between the rising number of attacks and the growing AI industry is that now you need fewer skills to carry out a successful cyberattack- you can just ask a chatbot to plan one for you.

Barracuda’s researchers explained- “Using generative AI’s writing capabilities, cyberattackers – including those looking to launch ransomware – can now strike faster and with better accuracy, as the spelling errors and grammar issues in phishing emails are more easily eliminated, making attacks more evasive and convincing.”

We may be looking into a now-so-far future where the skill required to start a ransomware attack is reduced to constructing a malicious AI prompt and having access to ransomware-as-a-service tools, which would make cyberattacks way more accessible and widespread.