New Delhi, 19th August 2023 –– Arete, a leading global cyber risk management company, released Turning Tides – Navigating the Evolving World of Cybercrime, a report highlighting trends and shifts in the cyber threat landscape observed by Arete in the first half of 2023. The report leverages data collected during Arete incident response engagements and explores the rise and fall of ransomware variants, trends in ransom demands and payments, industries targeted by ransomware attacks, and what may be coming next.

The report highlights several key findings. In the initial six months of 2023, LockBit has surged to claim the leading position, constituting 30.3% of all ransomware incidents monitored by Arete. Notably, the professional services sector has emerged as the primary target, experiencing an uptick of nearly 12% since the latter half of 2022. Although there is a general upward trajectory in ransom demands by cybercriminals, Arete’s data reveals that only 19% of cases during the first half of 2023 resulted in a ransom payment.

The report offers an in-depth analysis of the top five ransomware variants observed, as well as data on initial access vectors and post-exploitation toolsets. It also explores shifts in the threat landscape, including the lower barrier of entry into cybercrime that is powered by leaked resources, new business models, and AI tools. We also discuss the socioeconomic impacts of the Russia-Ukraine War and the increase in global law enforcement actions against cybercriminals.

“Cybercrime is constantly shifting in response to new vulnerabilities, developing technology, and global socioeconomic events,” said Arete’s Chief Data Officer, Chris Martenson. “Remaining aware of the latest trends and shifts allows organizations to take a proactive approach to cybersecurity and create data-driven strategies to protect their data and systems,” Martenson added.