Ransomware Attacks Decreasing? Not So Fast, Black Kite Report Shows


Amid signs that ransomware volume is declining, a new report from cybersecurity provider Black Kite conversely suggests that so far this year a cyber hijack “resurgence” is afoot.

The report offers an analysis of 2,708 ransomware victims for the 12-month period from April 2022 to March 2023. Black Kite said of particular interest was that the number of victims in March nearly doubled from last April and were 1.6 times higher than the peak month in 2022.

More Large-Scale Ransomware Attacks

With new crews emerging and experienced players executing large scale attacks, businesses must monitor their ecosystems for warning signs of infiltrations, said Black Kite Chief Security Officer Bob Maley.

Commenting on the study, Maley said:

“While there were some signs of ransomware decreasing last year due to increased pressure from law enforcement and several ransomware groups shutting down, the last few months serve as a stark reminder that we are far from being in the clear. As more ransomware groups exploit vulnerabilities in third-party vendors, businesses will be blindsided unless they continuously monitor their extended ecosystem for susceptibility indicators and the earliest warning signs of risk.”

Ransomware Resurgence in 2023

Here are the report’s key findings:

  • Ransomware attacks spiked in early 2023, with new players such as Royal, BianLian and Play ransomware gangs joining the field and major players like Lockbit and Clop executing mass-ransomware attacks.
  • The top targeted industries were manufacturing (19.5%), professional services, scientific and technical services (15.3%), and educational services (6.1%).
  • The U.S. was the top targeted country, accounting for 43% of victim organizations, followed by the U.K. (5.7%) and Germany (4.4%).
  • Ransomware groups tend to target companies with annual revenues of approximately $50-60 million, with third-party vendors often targeted for client information extortion.
  • The top ransomware groups during the analysis period included Lockbit (29%), AlphaVM (BlackCat) (8.6%), and Black Basta (7.2%).
  • Encryption-less ransomware is on the rise, underscoring the importance of data protection and regulatory compliance in addition to addressing business interruption risks posed by traditional encryption-based attacks.

More than 70% of ransomware victims had a Ransomware Susceptibility Index value above the critical threshold (0.4), indicating their susceptibility to ransomware attacks, the study said.

Black Kite generated an RSI score that indicates an organization's susceptibility to ransomware attacks. Common ransomware susceptibility indicators among victims included poor email configuration, recent credential leaks, public remote access ports, out-of-date systems, and IP addresses with botnet activity.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.