Ransomware attacks on supply chains are on the rise

Supply chains are becoming an increasingly attractive target for ransomware attacks, says report.
31 May 2018

Last year saw the worrying increase in ransomware and other cybercrim activity.

This year, these threats are rising further and it seems there is an increasing need for businesses to enhance their efforts for safeguarding their supply chains.

New research from the NTT Security 2018 Global Threat intelligence Report by Dimension Data, found a significant increase in the number of ransomware attacks aimed at supply chains last year.

This make the business and professional services market the third-most targeted industry for ransomware- up three places from its sixth-place ranking in 2016.

Ransomware is a form of malicious software that takes over your computer and threatens you with harm- usually by denying you access to your valuable data.

From this, the attacker demands a ransom from the unfortunate victim in return for the restoration of their data.

According to the report, there was a 350 percent increase in ransomware last year, accounting for seven percent of all malware attacks.

Taking the top place as the most targeted industry by ransomware is finance and technology. According to the report, these account for 70 percent of all attacks in the US.

However, in general, the instances of ransomware-related incident responses at financial institutions dropped year-over-year from 22 percent to 5 percent last year. Despite this decline, it still remains cybercriminals’ primary target.

The rise in supply chain attacks

It seems that the trade secrets and intellectual property that can be found in supply chains is what makes them so desirable to attackers.

Supply chains are becoming a prime target for attackers. Source: Shutterstock

Mark Thomas, Dimension Data’s Group CTO for Cybersecurity, said:

“There are numerous moving parts to supply chains and outsourcing companies, which often run on disparate and outdated network infrastructures, making them easy prey to cyber threat actors.”

“Service providers and outsourcers are also a prime target, due to their trade secrets and intellectual property. Businesses need to wise-up to the very real threats against them, and ensure all aspects of their operations are robustly and securely protected,” he added.

Industry attacks vary across jurisdictions

According to the report, attacks vary depending on location. In Australia, the education sector was found to be the most targeted, accounting for 26 percent of ransomware cases last year.

Researchers explain that the connections between educational institutions, students, and campuses, make the sector a prime target. Overall, attacks on the education sector have doubled year-over-year worldwide.

In the Asia Pacific region, ransomware attacks in the manufacturing industry have declined from 32 percent to just 7 percent. According to researchers, this decrease can be attributed to the acceleration of sophisticated cybersecurity practices.

The report also found that China is the top source for cyber incidents on the world’s manufacturing industry, accounting for 67 percent of attacks across the Europe, Middle East, and Asia market.