Financial services targeted for 13% of cyber attacks, mainly ransomware

“An ounce of prevention is better than cure when it comes to ransomware, so we encourage all organizations to continually assess the security controls they have deployed rather than waiting for an incident to occur. “

Kroll’s Threat Landscape Report found that ransomware was the dominant threat type in Q3 2021, as this type of cyberattack has more than doubled since Q1 2021, from 20% to 46%, fueled by an exponential increase in the initial market for access brokers.

Business Email Compromise (BEC) incidents decreased 4% quarter-on-quarter, accounting for 29% of attacks in the third quarter and becoming the second dominant threat type.

Incidents of unauthorized access and the risk of insider threats have also increased, but to a lesser extent than ransomware, accounting for 25% of incidents during the same period.

Financial services sector accounts for 13% of cyberattacks

The Cyber ​​Threat Developments Report will be released quarterly and will include the most important attack methods, stakeholder groups, sectors targeted and risks on the horizon.

Ioan Peters, Managing Director and Co-Regional EMEA Manager for Kroll’s Cyber ​​Risk Practice, said: “Ransomware remains a huge threat to organizations of all shapes and sizes. We’ve seen threat actors mobilize and expand their efforts since the start of the pandemic, and incidents like the Conti leak only serve to democratize the methods cybercriminals use to gain access to businesses.

“An ounce of prevention is better than cure when it comes to ransomware, so we encourage all organizations to continually assess the security controls they have deployed rather than waiting for an incident to occur. “

According to the Kroll report, the financial services industry is one of the industries most targeted by cybercriminals, accounting for 13% of all attacks, which include ransomware and business email compromise.

The professional services sector remained the most targeted industry, accounting for 22% of cyber threats, likely due to the fact that attackers increasingly use supply chain breaches within professional services companies to reach as many as many victims as possible in a single attack.

Technology and telecommunications (13%), healthcare (12%) and manufacturing (10%) are other highly targeted sectors. In total, the five aforementioned sectors account for 70% of cyber attacks.

Peters added: “The attacks on the global healthcare industry are particularly startling given the strain on these services from the pandemic. After a first “ceasefire” of threat groups in March 2020, the Conti group, which recorded the highest number of incidents in the third quarter (31%), has acquired a reputation for targeting hospitals and other services emergency medical. Unfortunately, these attacks can have deadly consequences and therefore these organizations must focus on putting all possible safeguards in place. “

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Phishing and social engineering are the main vectors of infection

The research study also found that phishing and social engineering remained the most important vectors of infection, but exploitation of vulnerability by third parties is the fastest growing vector of infection, in particular. 12% QoQ increase.

Threat actors have armed the pandemic and used it as an opportunity to strike vulnerable businesses as they move more of their operations online.

“As the pandemic continues to impact the way we work globally, the risks from threat actors looking to take advantage of business vulnerabilities have increased as security teams struggle to keep pace, ”continued Ioan Peters.

“Organizations need to make sure they scale with threats to ensure maximum protection for their business and their customers. Strong identity protection such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) is often the best step a business can take to protect itself in terms of spend and rewards. It is relatively simple to set up and can prevent an overwhelming majority of attacks. A large majority of the victims in the third quarter were companies that had not fully implemented the AMF in place. “

Stephen V. Lee