Thursday, December 2, 2021

Ransomware is the Top ‘Emerging Risk’ to Organizations

STAMFORD, Conn. — A recent report says that new ransomware models are the “top concern” facing executives.

The report by Gartner shows the top five risks cited by the execs in the Q3 2021, with four of them being tied to the pandemic and its “implications for work”:

Top 5 “emerging risks” to organizations 

1. New ransomware models
2. Post-pandemic talent
3. Endemic COVID-19
4. Supply chain disruptions
5. Hybrid workforce disparities

The report was released last month by Gartner: “3Q 2021 Emerging Risks Monitor Report.”

See more on ransomware

Reasons why ransomware is the top threat

  • Rise of cryptocurrencies: The rise of new ransomware models as a top threat to organizations in many ways tracks the growth in popularity of cryptocurrencies that have strengthened the anonymity of attackers, while also providing new models to extort victim organizations
  • Specialization: The ransomware business model has become more specialized and otherwise efficient, including ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) and demand for bitcoin payouts, resulting in a proliferation of attacks
  • Evolving technologies: The technology for the attacks themselves also evolves, with viruses that linger and infect backup systems, do not rely on phishing as a vector, and harder-to-identify viruses, such as fileless and crypto-jacking attacks.

“The negative impact of evolving ransomware attacks is seen as so severe by executives that it tops a notable list of risks related to an ongoing pandemic and the disruption of the global supply chain,” said Matt Shinkman, VP, Gartner Risk and Audit.

“While new models of ransomware attacks are frightening in their own right, the consequences for organizations are even worse. Prolonged operational delays, data loss and exposure as well as the reputational damage that follows present potential existential risks to an organization that executives are all too well aware of, especially if the attacks occur as a result of inadequate cybersecurity controls.”

See more: Top 10 Cybersecurity Threats

Pandemic-related risks

Shinkman stressed that risks related to the pandemic are ongoing issues for executives.

“The early calculus of how best to return employees to the office has been supplanted by a range of concerns around ongoing hybrid work disparity, a lack of effective training and development in such an environment and in many cases, historic levels of employee turnover,” Shinkman said. 

“Managing new working models in an endemic COVID-19 environment is clearly going to be a more difficult scenario than simply the post-pandemic plans, which many executives were relying upon just a few months ago.”

Report methodology

The report is based on a survey of 294 senior executives across industries and geography.

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