HomeCII/OTThe Rise of Ransomware, Global Hacktivism, and More

The Rise of Ransomware, Global Hacktivism, and More

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Woburn, MA – January 31, 2024 — Kaspersky has released its Industrial Control Systems Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS CERT) predictions for 2024, outlining the key cybersecurity challenges facing industrial enterprises in the year ahead. The predictions highlight the persistence of ransomware threats, the rise of cosmopolitical hacktivism, an outlook on the state of “offensive cybersecurity”, and the transformative shifts in logistics and transport threats.

Looking back at 2023, Kaspersky predicted that the industrial cybersecurity landscape would continue to evolve, with several key trends emerging. The pursuit of efficiency in IIoT and SmartXXX systems fueled an expanded attack surface, while the surge in energy carrier prices led to heightened hardware costs prompting a strategic shift towards cloud services. The growing government involvement in industrial processes also introduced fresh risks, including concerns about data leaks due to underqualified employees and insufficient practices for responsible disclosure.

Ransomware is projected to persist as the primary concern for industrial enterprises in 2024. Large organizations, unique product suppliers, and major logistics companies face increased risks, with potential severe economic and social consequences. Cybercriminals are expected to target entities capable of substantial ransom payments, causing disruptions in production and delivery.

Geopolitically motivated hacktivism is forecasted to intensify, presenting more destructive consequences. In addition to country-specific protest movements, the rise of cosmopolitical hacktivism is expected, driven by socio-cultural and macro-economic agendas such as eco-hacktivism. This diversification of motives may contribute to a more complex and challenging threat landscape.

The use of “offensive cybersecurity” for gathering cyberthreat intelligence is anticipated to have controversial consequences. While it may improve corporate security by providing early signs of potential compromises, the thin line between the grey zone and the shadows may be breached. Profit-driven cyber activities, armed with commercial and open-source tools could operate more discreetly making detection and investigation challenging.

The rapid automation and digitization of logistics and transport are introducing new challenges, intertwining cyber and traditional crimes. This includes theft of vehicles and goods, maritime piracy, and smuggling. Non-targeted cyberattacks may lead to physical consequences, especially in river, sea, truck, and special-purpose vehicles.

“The industrial sector’s cybersecurity is continuously going through significant changes, with both new types of attacks and more sophisticated versions of old ones,” said Evgeny Goncharov, head of Kaspersky ICS CERT. “Ransomware attacks are still a big problem, and hackers are getting better at targeting large, profitable companies with more advanced methods. Hacktivists who are motivated by social issues are also becoming more active, adding another layer of complexity to the threats. The transportation and logistics industry is especially vulnerable to these changes because its systems are becoming more and more digital. This combination of cyber and traditional crime is a serious threat to global supply chains. To protect ourselves, we need to prioritize cybersecurity, avoid paying ransoms, and keep improving our defenses.”

Read the full list of ICS predictions for 2024 on the ICS CERT website.

ICS predictions are part of Kaspersky’s Vertical Threat Predictions for 2024, one of the segments of the Kaspersky Security Bulletin, an annual series of predictions and analytical reports on key shifts in the cybersecurity world.

About Kaspersky
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity and digital privacy company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise are constantly transforming into innovative solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments, and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection, specialized security products and services, as well as Cyber Immune solutions to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help over 220,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.

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