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Triple Extortion – The New Ransomware Threat

17 May 2021

According to a new report by Check Point, the global number of ransomware attacks has more than doubled in the first half of 2021, when compared to 2020. This has caused a huge 171% surge in ransomware payments, which now average at about £270,000. 

Researchers claim that ‘triple extortion’ is now contributing to these growing numbers  as hackers are improving their efficiency and success rates when it comes to exploiting companies and their customers. 

So what is triple extortion? It essentially means that rather than just targeting companies alone, hackers and cyber criminals are now also demanding payments from their customers, partners and other related third parties. They’re doing this to ensure they’re receiving the maximum amount of cash available per hack. 

The first recorded case

The first case of this new type of extortion that was observed by researchers involved a psychotherapy clinic in Finland in 2020. Thousands of the clinic’s patient records had been breached and when threatened by hackers, the clinic had paid the ransom.

It was then discovered that the patients themselves were being targeted. The cyber criminals were threatening to leak their private medical records, unless they paid them 240 euros within 24 hours – the ransom then escalated to 500 euros after this timeframe. 

In this respect, the patients of the clinic had a lot to lose. Unfortunately, this is often the effect of triple extortion, when those who are most vulnerable are exploited and don’t necessarily have the legal or technical support to react in the same way as larger corporations do. 

Who’S most at risk from triple extortion?

When breaking down the threat level by industry, it’s those who are in the healthcare sector who are most at risk of triple extortion threats, closely followed by the utilities, legal and insurance industries. In the report, it was highlighted that companies based in the Asia-Pacific region were most at risk, and that organisations in Africa have seen cases rise by the fastest rate of 14%.

It’s important to note that most ransomware attacks on corporations occurred during the holidays or at weekends, when staff may not have been as vigilant as usual. This highlights the importance of having a robust, layered cyber security policy for you and your business – a simple firewall that comes bundled with anti-virus software simply won’t cut it anymore.

ICT Solutions can help keep your business safe

Here at ICT Solutions, we make use of several cyber security measures simultaneously to ensure that your business is protected on every level. 

From regular website and data backups to disaster recovery plans that keep you insured in even the worst case scenarios, we can tailor our IT support packages to your individual needs. 

Get in touch with us today to find out how our cyber security service can give you peace of mind and protect your business from growing, advanced digital threats.