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Ransomware Attack: Only 26 Percent of Retail Organizations Were Able to Halt Cybercriminals from Encrypting Their Data- Sophos

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Sophos, a global leader in innovating and delivering cybersecurity as a service, on Thursday shared findings from its sector survey report, “The State of Ransomware in Retail 2023,” which found that only 26% of retail organizations this past year were able to disrupt a ransomware attack before their data was encrypted.

This is a three-year low for the sector—a decline from 34% in 2021 and 28% in 2022—suggesting the sector is increasingly unable to halt ransomware attacks already in progress.

“Retailers are losing ground in the battle against ransomware. Ransomware criminals have been encrypting increasingly greater percentages of their retail victims in the last three years, as evidenced by the steadily declining rate of retailers stopping cybercriminal attacks in progress. Retailers must up their defensive game by setting up security that detects and responds to intrusions earlier in the attack chain,” said Chester Wisniewski, director, global field CTO, Sophos.

In addition, the report found that, for those retail organizations that paid the ransom, their median recovery costs (not including the ransom payment) were four times the recovery costs of those that used backups to recover their data ($3,000,000 versus $750,000).

“Forty-three percent of retail victims paid the ransom according to our survey respondents, yet the median recovery cost to victims who paid the ransom was four times the cost to those who used backups and other recovery methods. There are no shortcuts in these situations and rebuilding systems is almost always required. It’s better to deprive the criminals of their spoils and build back better,” said Wisniewski.

Additional key findings from the report include:

·       In line with a broader, cross-sector trend, the retail sector experienced its highest rate of encryption over the past three years, with 71% of those organizations targeted by ransomware stating that attackers successfully encrypted their data

·       The percentage of retail organizations attacked by ransomware declined from 77% last year to 69% this year

·       The percentage of retail organizations that recovered in less than a day decreased from 15% to 9% this year, while the percentage of retail organizations that took more than a month to recover increased from 17% to 21%

Sophos recommends the following best practices to help defend against ransomware and other cyberattacks:

·       Strengthen defensive shields with:

o   Security tools that defend against the most common attack vectors, including including endpoint protection with strong anti-ransomware and anti-exploit capabilities

o   Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) to thwart the abuse of compromised credentials.

o   Adaptive technologies that respond automatically to attacks, disrupting adversaries and buying defenders time to respond.

o   24/7 threat detection, investigation and response, whether deliveredin-house or by a specialized Managed Detection and Response (MDR) provider

·       Optimize attack preparation, including regularly backing up, practicing recovering data from backups and maintaining an up-to-date incident response plan

·       Maintain security hygiene, including timely patching and regularly reviewing security tool configurations

To learn more about the State of Ransomware in Retail 2023, download the full report from Sophos.com.

The State of Ransomware 2023 survey polled 3,000 IT/cybersecurity leaders in organizations with between 100 and 5,000 employees, including 355 from the retail sector, across 14 countries in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific.


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Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University. Dear Reader, Your support matters. But we believe that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. That is why, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and finance and how they affect lives. Our incisive and analytical view of how technology news affects the daily life help individuals and organizations make up their minds. Quality journalism costs money. Today, we're asking that you support us to do more. Kindly support our effort to deliver technology and finance journalism to everyone in the world. Donate as little as N1,000. Bank transfers can be made to: UBA Plc 1017156876 Communication Week Media Ltd

E-Business

CrediCorp Partners FintechNGR to Drive Consumer Credit Initiative

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Nigerian Consumer Credit Corporation (CrediCorp), has partnered Fintech Association of Nigeria (FinTechNGR) to drive consumer credit scheme initiative through a robust payment platform that would be provided by members of FinTechNGR.

Speaking at a Social Meet in Lagos, organised by FinTechNGR, with the theme: “Augmenting the Future, AI, Credit and Transformation of Nigerian Finance,” the Chairman, CrediCorp Board of Directors, Aderemi Abdul-Bojela, said members of FinTechNGR would have specific roles to play in the partnership, in the areas of providing robust platform for money transfer, technology evaluation, among others.

“Today, CrediCorp is engaging with members of FinTechNGR in a social interactive gathering to discuss collaboration and support for the growth of Consumer Credit Corporation in Nigeria. We want to interact to understand how technology will drive the crediCorp initiative in Nigeria and also to understand the role that members of FinTechNGR will play in all of these initiatives around CrediCorp,” Abdul-Bojela said.

Describing the partnership as a welcome development that will enhance savings culture among Nigerians, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of FinTechNGR, Dr. Babatunde Obrimah, said: “FinTechNGR is an enabler of technology advancement in Nigeria. We bring the players together to drive technology innovation.

“Our role in the FinTechNGR-CrediCorp partnership is to ensure that our members support the growth of consumer credit in Nigeria, by providing the relevant payment platforms for all financial transactions among the banks who are the lenders, the customers who are the burrowers and the CrediCorp who is the guarantor.”

Speaking about the benefits for Nigerians, Obrimah said the Consumer Credit Corporation in Nigeria would enhance the country’s credit culture and enable Nigerians to save and plan well with their savings. “The initiative will address inflation, help in liquidity flow, build trust in customers’ borrowing, boost credit culture and enhance the culture of savings among Nigerians,” Obrimah said.

Addressing the issue of risk and consumer trust, Abdul-Bojela said the CrediCorp has put measures in place to ensure that the banks that would be involved in lending, would be protected and guaranteed of the repayment of the loans within the CrediCorp ecosystem.

He said there would be an independent management that would ensure that the right technology is put in place to recover all monies.


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NITDA to Integrate of Digital Literacy into School Curriculum

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Kashifu Abdullahi, director general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), announced plans to integrate digital literacy into Nigeria’s education system, to achieve a 70% literacy rate by 2027 and 95% by 2030.

NITDA to Integrate of Digital Literacy into School Curriculum

Kashifu Abdullah, DG, NITDA

The NITDA’s DG made the announcement on Wednesday in Abuja during a media parley.

He stated that in order to include digital literacy in the curriculum at all educational levels, from kindergarten to university, the Agency was collaborating with the Federal Ministry of Education.

Abdullahi, said that this program would equip Nigerians with the digital know-how and abilities they need to succeed in the digital economy.

He emphasized that NITDA would also launch the “Digital Literacy for All Initiative” to educate Nigerians outside the formal education system and provide access to quality digital content.

Nigeria would train over two million young people in in-demand IT skills in order to become significant global outsourcing hub

NITDA is also collaborating with the Defence Headquarters and security agencies to develop digital solutions to address security concerns, including the use of drones, artificial intelligence, and other digital resources to combat banditry, abduction, and terrorism, he said.

 

According to him, the agency’s draft SRAP 2.0 plan aims to establish Nigeria as a digitally empowered nation, with a focus on innovation, national prosperity, and inclusivity.

The director general of NITDA added that, if successfully implemented, this strategy could propel Nigeria into a new phase of digital empowerment and leadership in the global digital economy.


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Experts Highlight Trusted Relationships as Key Vector

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In 2023, more than 1/5 of cyberattacks persisted for over a month, the annual Kaspersky Incident Response 2023 report has revealed, with trusted relationships emerging as one of the main attack vectors in these prolonged cases.

The report draws on the results of Kaspersky’s cyberattack investigations throughout the year, gathered when supporting organisations sought incident response assistance or when hosting expert events for their internal incident response teams.

Primary reasons of organisations approaching Kaspersky Incident Response team with service requests were encrypted files (32.8% of requests), suspicious activities (31%), data leakage (20%), and also included non-authorised accesses (3%), service unavailability (3%) and money theft (1.6%).

Among initial attack vectors of the investigated incidents were exploiting public facing application (42.4%), compromised accounts and BruteForce attacks (28.8% in total), trusted relationships (6.78%), phishing (5%), insider’s activity (3.4%).

Kaspersky Incident Response 2023 report indicates that long-lasting cyberattacks that persist for more than a month constituted 21.85% of the total, increasing from 2022 by 5.55%.

One notable trend observed in these attacks was the exploitation of trusted relationships as a primary vector. Compromises leveraging trusted relationships have occurred previously, but in 2023 their frequency increased.

As this method of attack enables threat actors to infiltrate multiple victims through a single compromised organisation, investigative teams face several additional challenges. Firstly, initially targeted organisations don’t always recognise the importance of thorough investigations and may be reluctant to cooperate.

Secondly, attacks initiated through trusted relationships often require more time to progress from the initial intrusion to the final incursion phase. Therefore 50% of these attacks lasted more than a month. A similar proportion of attacks exceeding one month were exclusively registered within the insider and phishing vectors.

“Our latest findings underscore the critical role of trust in cyberattacks. In 2023 and for the first time in recent years, attacks through trusted relationships were among the three most used vectors. Half of these incidents were discovered only after a data leak had been found.

“By exploiting trusted relationships, threat actors can prolong attacks and infiltrate networks for extended periods, posing significant risks to organisations. It’s imperative for businesses to remain vigilant and prioritise security measures to safeguard against such sophisticated tactics,” comments Konstantin Sapronov, Head of Global Emergency Response Team at Kaspersky.

 


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