Cyber attackers shift ransomware focus

Published:14/10/2020

Cyber attackers shift ransomware focus

Cyber thieves have become ruthless and, recently, a ransomware attack on Japanese camera maker Canon has made this all the more apparent. In this instance, when the company refused to meet the perpetrator's demands, some of their encrypted data was dumped online.

In Australia, an insurer agreed to a $350,000 bitcoin payment to free a client's system from a new strain of ransomware after its forensic experts said it could take several months to unlock the encryption.

While cyber threats are far from new, the dangers they pose have evolved over time and, in recent times, the global pandemic has only contributed to rising risks online, with many businesses being forced to work remotely. Now, hackers are going beyond email phishing, disguising themselves as legitimate companies to trick victims into sharing personal details, such as financial information.

For the most part, hackers have shifted their focus, seeking out access to the plethora of valuable data stored by companies, which they then encrypt and leverage to demand sizable ransom payments.

While the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner recorded 13 ransomware attacks in the first half of last year, this number has grown and, in the same period this year, rose to 33, confirming the concerns of IT security experts.

According to industry experts, the biggest cyber threat Australian businesses must overcome is data-encryption malware. Clyde and Co, a law firm with a dedicated cyber incident response division, says Australia is just one of many countries seeing a new wave of ransomware incidents.

"The risk landscape has evolved to sophisticated and well-planned attacks, with organisations being profiled and hand-picked as targets," the firm's Partner John Moran said.

"Our team is seeing a shift away from the more 'routine' incidents where criminals seek a handful of bitcoins in return for the decryption of their IT systems."

While hackers will often target big companies, SMEs aren't entirely in the clear when it comes to cyber threats, with some already facing the consequences of ransomware attacks. The insurer of a club in Queensland, who made the $350,000 bitcoin payment, has said that the ransomware attacker identified and exploited flaws in their client's IT system.

In today's technologically advanced economy, data is said to be the new oil. In just a matter of time, it's expected that cyber hackers will start targeting more SMEs that lack the resources to establish robust IT systems, as their data is relatively easy to access.

In addressing this threat, many SMEs will likely need to re-evaluate their existing cyber insurance policy, ensuring it's sufficient. However, all of this considered, the threat is still there and; thus, investing in a cyber insurance policy is often preferable.


How Coverforce can help

Not all cyber covers offer the same protection, so knowing which policy is right for your SME's specific needs can be challenging - this is where we can help.

Take proactive steps towards protecting your business' data by getting in touch with our team, who can help you determine the best cyber policy for you.


The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. If you require advice that is tailored to your specific business or individual circumstances, please contact Coverforce directly.


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