The problems plaguing foreign exchange firm Travelex are just a taste of what the future of cyber-crime has to offer, given the continued expansion of ransomware
According to experts at CyberCube, the cyber analytics firm focused on the global insurance industry, businesses need to prepare for ransomware attacks so widespread they could stifle economic growth in the short term.
Nick Beecroft, Client Services Manager at CyberCube, said: “What’s happened to Travelex is part of a rapidly growing trend. Ransomware has become more than a cottage industry with ransomware developers and hackers teaming up to attack companies and then divide the spoils. There are also so-called ‘big game hunters’ who work alone and target firms able to pay large ransoms.
“Interestingly, while some businesses have been slow to admit they’ve fallen victim to attacks, we’ve recently seen a movement towards the publication of ‘shaming sites’ with companies infected being listed. Ransomware attacks are increasing year on year and will soon reach the point at which a major attack could cripple businesses across the world – what would amount to a complete systemic failure.
“The insurance industry, which offers protection to businesses like Travelex, is already planning for this type of event. At CyberCube, we’re building the complex models that allow insurers and other organisations to examine what the effect of a catastrophic ransomware attack would be. In the case of Travelex, their problems have affected partner businesses like Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Virgin Money. A major systemic ransomware event would spread much more widely, potentially hobbling large swathes of the economy.”
CyberCube clients have received a Cyber Event Response Report, exploring ransomware trends at a technical level. Alejandro Sauter, report author and Cyber Risk Analyst at CyberCube, said: “The threat of ransomware has become significantly focused in the cybersecurity and cyber insurance worlds since the WannaCry attack in 2017. While ransomware has been around for much longer, key changes in the past few years have truly boosted its growth in use by cybercriminals, whose interest in using this type of malware primarily lies in the speed and ease of monetisation.”
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