Extortion virus attacks now threaten all organisms, but there are industries that are at higher than average risk. A study by cybersecurity company Digital Shadows revealed that businesses producing industrial goods and services were the most targeted in 2020, with 29 per cent, or almost a third, of attacks.
Manufacturing and infrastructure companies they are an attractive target because they work around the clock and their temporary downtime affects the entire supply chain. There is therefore a lot of pressure on them to pay, because a longer outage would lead to a severe loss of credit for their consumers and it is therefore relatively easy to charge them a ransom.
Due to their non-stop operation, such companies is also more difficult to deploy, and therefore criminals have a better chance of finding vulnerabilities in the networks of such organizations. In addition, old, unsupported technologies are still widely used in industrial environments and are also a tempting target for attackers.
Most extortion viruses attack network PCs and servers, but there are now variants of viruses specifically designed for industrial use. designed for actions against industrial control systems (ICS). By disabling ICS systems, energy and water supplies can also be blocked – even today, that dangerous form of attack is not really typical, but we will have to reckon with this more and more in the future.