A sign of ransomware growth: Gangs now arbitrate disputes

Cyber criminal gangs are getting increasingly adept at hacking and becoming more professional, even setting up an arbitration system to resolve payment disputes among themselves, according to a new report by the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom that paints a bleak picture of ransomware trends.

Ransomware gangs, which hack targets and hold their data hostage through encryption, caused widespread havoc last year with high-profile attacks on the world’s largest meat-packing company, the biggest U.S. fuel pipeline and other targets. Western governments have pledged to crack down on the cyber criminals, who operate largely in and around Russia, but have little to show in the way of progress.

The new report on 2021 ransomware trends highlights the growing maturity and specialization of the ransomware market, with independent operators filling a lucrative niche market. Specialists now range from the hackers who can break into networks or develop ransomware to the nontechnical operators who negotiate payments with victims. The United Kingdom’s National Cyber Security Centre said it’s seen some ransomware gangs offer a 24/7 help center to victims to expedite ransom payments and restore encrypted data.

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Source: AP News