Number of cyber extortion victims up by 46 percent

The cyber extortion threat landscape continues to evolve quickly and the past 12 months have seen the number of victims globally increasing by 46 percent, marking the highest numbers ever recorded.

A new report from Orange Cyberdefense shows large enterprises were the victim in the majority of attacks (40 percent), with those employing more than 10,000 people seeing a steady increase.

This trend has been exacerbated by a single threat actor, Cl0p, which exploited two major vulnerabilities in 2023. Small organizations make up 25 percent of all the victims, closely followed by medium-sized businesses, with a share of 23 percent.

English-speaking countries make up the majority of victims, with 53 percent in the United States, followed by the UK on six percent and Canada on five percent. However, there have been major year-on-year increases to victim numbers in India (+97 percent), Oceania (+73 percent), and Africa (+70 percent).

“This year’s report underlines the unpredictable environment we face today, and we see our teams working harder than ever as the number of detected incidents continues to increase (+30 percent YOY). Whilst we are seeing a surge in the number of large businesses impacted by Cyber Extortion (40 percent), small and medium businesses together are making up nearly half of all victims (48 percent),” says Hugues Foulon, CEO of Orange Cyberdefense.

The report also notes an increase of activity in hacktivism to support causes of a political or social nature. Attacks from hacktivist groups involved in the war against Ukraine, siding with either Russia or Ukraine, have reached record-high levels. Europe has been impacted by 85 percent of all hacktivist attacks seen in 2023, followed by North America (seven percent) and the Middle East (three percent).

“Together, with our customers, we are pursuing an unwavering policy of awareness and support for our increasingly interconnected world. We are adapting to new technologies and preparing for new threat actors by continuing to anticipate, detect and contain attacks when they emerge,” Foulon concludes.

You can read more on the Orange Cyberdefense blog.

Image credit: Elnur_/