A joint Cybersecurity Advisory issued by U.S. and international partners, entitled “2021 Trends Show Increased Globalized Threat of Ransomware,” warns of “the growing international threat posed by ransomware over the past year” on a global perspective.

The trends outlined by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency, the Australian Cyber Security Centre, and the United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre include:

  • Cybercriminals are increasingly gaining access to networks via phishing, stolen Remote Desktop Protocols (RDP) credentials or brute force, and exploiting software vulnerabilities.
  • The market for ransomware became increasingly “professional” and there has been an increase in cybercriminal services-for-hire.
  • More and more, ransomware groups are sharing victim information with each other, including access to victims’ networks.
  • Cybercriminals are diversifying their approaches to extorting money.
  • Ransomware groups are having an increasing impact thanks to approaches targeting the Cloud, managed service providers, industrial processes and the software supply chain.
  • Ransomware groups are increasingly targeting organizations on holidays and weekends.

The advisory stresses the fact that ransomware “is a rising global threat with potentially devastating consequences…[and] remains one of the most disruptive cyber threats to organisations and individuals [that] requires a global solution.”  It is meant to provide education about the global threat of ransomware, and mitigation actions that companies can take to “bolster resilience.”

The “immediate actions that can be taken now include ensuring timely patching of all operating software; implementing a user training program that includes recognizing and reporting suspicious emails; securing and monitoring remote desktop protocol, if used; and maintaining an offline backup of your data.”

The threat of ransomware continues to rise and it is encouraging to see allies working together to assist in a global response.