Businesses under rising ransomware attack threats ahead of Black Friday

William S. | November 23, 2021

Retailers are preparing for the discount season ahead by setting up deals and their marketing strategies. However, they should not overlook their preparedness for different types of cyberattacks, as cybercriminals get more intense in this season as well by exploiting vulnerabilities left on e-commerce sites.

According to the recent findings by the Atlas VPN team, retail and commerce businesses are under rising ransomware attack threats ahead of Black Friday sales. Furthermore, malware and social engineering attacks are at the top of methods used to threaten businesses.

The data is based on the Positive Technologies report on cybersecurity threatscape in Q2 2021. The information provided draws on the researchers’ expertise, the outcomes of investigations, and data from authoritative sources.

In Q1 2020, the ransomware attack percentage among malware attacks on retail and commerce stood at 11%. As the year progressed, the figure jumped to 33% in the second quarter and stayed the same in the third quarter. In Q4 2020, the ransomware threat percentage continued to rise to 55%.

In the first quarter of 2021, hackers came out strong right away, as ransomware attack percentage among malware attacks on retail and commerce industries reached 83%. Cybercriminals were not stopping in the second quarter, as the figure jumped to its highest point — 95%.

Previously, the primary goal of attackers targeting the retail and commerce industry was to steal consumer credit card information, personal information, and credentials. However, with the rise in ransomware attacks, hackers are increasingly targeting direct financial gain in the hopes of receiving hefty ransoms.

Ahead of Black Friday sales, retail and commerce are becoming an even more attractive target for cybercriminals. Businesses hit with a ransomware attack in the middle of the discount season could face irreversible monetary losses and customer distrust.

Different attack methods

Hackers tend to employ many different attacking methods, depending on what their goal is. The following techniques were the most popular in the second quarter of 2021. Retail and commerce business owners should look into the risks of such attacks the most.

Among other attack methods, malware attacks accounted for 59% of threats to retail and commerce in Q2 2021. Malware can carry ransomware, adware, spyware, and many other types of attacks. Such threats seek to disrupt businesses’ usual operations with the intent to earn quick profits from the ransom.

Social engineering attacks made up 53% of threats among other methods launched at retail and commerce companies. Such attacks heavily rely on human interaction and manipulation to click on a phishing link or break usual security procedures. By running social engineering threats, cybercriminals are expecting to get credentials or similar personal information.

Hacking attacks accounted for 26% of threats directed at retail and commerce businesses. Hackers attempt to access computers by exploiting vulnerabilities to steal data, install malware, conduct a ransomware attack, or gain access to a network.

In Q2 2021, retail and commerce enterprises were targeted by 21% of web attacks, among other methods. Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities on e-commerce websites to obtain customers’ orders, including their sensitive data. In some cases, hackers could even gain full access to the website, allowing them to do whatever they want.

Business owners in the retail and commerce industry should thoroughly evaluate their cybersecurity strength before the start of the discount season. Making sure everything is correct will cost less than paying the ransom or recovering from a cyberattack. Hackers are very active, and they will not miss a chance to benefit.

William S.

William S.

Cybersecurity Researcher and Publisher at Atlas VPN. Focused on revealing the latest cybersecurity trends around the world.

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Ransomware

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