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Holy Hacks, Batman! Rasomware Attacks Blow-Up In Q4 2021

Published: April 11, 2022 on our newsletter Security Fraud News & Alerts Newsletter.

Over time, ransomware, like many other malware types, rarely if ever, decrease. However, the attacks holding information for ransom and a huge payday took an enormous jump from October to December 2021, also called Q4. Researchers from Intel 471 found ransomware attacks during these three months reached as many as 722. For comparison that same year, Q2 saw an increase of 129 attacks, and Q3 saw 110 additional attacks. So, what’s behind with the epic ransomware explosion in Q4?

A Closer Look Behind Q4, 2021

It looks like Intel 471 researchers were following a bonanza of ransomware attacks. They found five variants responsible for most of the Q4 increase; Grief, LockBit 2.0, Conti, Hive, and PYSA were most prevalent. In total, researchers found 34 new ransomware variants emerged in Q4, 2021.

Sectors most impacted by the increase include manufacturing, technology, energy, and agriculture. But the researchers concluded the sector for consumer and industrial products was most affected, up by 22.2%, making it the most impacted sector of last year’s Q4.

Pow! Bam! Knocking Out Ransomware Threats

  • Be in the know about potential phishing attacks. Educate staff, contractors, kids, and anyone connecting to the internet.

  • Backup all of the important data on a regular basis and make sure those backups work, so if they are needed, they work. Keep the backed-up data off the internet when possible or separate from your operating network at a minimum.

  • Don’t pay ransoms. They encourage more of the devious behavior.

The Stats

A closer look at the top five most prevalent ransomware variants for Q4 sheds light on just how effective they were. LockBit 2.0 was behind 29.7% of attacks, Conti at 19%, PYSA at 10.5%, and Hive with 10.1% of responsibility. The Intel 471 researchers also found countries most affected by the variant attacks were the U.S., Italy, Germany, France, and Canada.

The 34 new ransomware variants in Q4, 2021 help explain the rocket-like increase in these attacks. You can be sure the number of ransomware hacks and new variants in 2022 are being closely watched. Using cyber-history and Q4 2021 as a guide, placing a bet on ransomware attacks declining in the future isn’t highly recommended. Remember, you’ve been warned!

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