Ransomware Readiness and Rising OT Cybersecurity Threats

Published On: September 21, 2023Categories: Cybersecurity, Blog

As businesses and governments worldwide expand their digital reach, they face an unprecedented rise in cyber threats. Ransomware has emerged as a formidable menace, demanding a comprehensive response strategy. Recent ransomware readiness assessments and high-profile breaches, such as those at Clorox and MGM, underscore the magnitude of this threat.

Statistics from the first half of 2023 paint a rather grim picture. Critical sectors like healthcare, government, energy, and manufacturing, which predominantly leverage operational technology, are under siege. The United States emerged as the most sought-after target in this recent wave of cyber onslaughts. Renowned security firm Dragos reported that half of the 66 threat groups they monitor continue to impact industrial organizations profoundly. These groups employ various techniques, from social engineering and compromising IT service providers to exploiting zero-day vulnerabilities, underscoring the complexity of the cybersecurity battle.

Recent breaches offer a window into the tangible risks organizations face. The United States faced a rise in cyberattacks in the first half of 2023, significantly impacting key sectors leveraging operational technology (OT). The critical manufacturing sector stands out as the most targeted, showcasing its intrinsic vulnerabilities. Most of these ransomware attacks are concentrated in the United States and Europe, with the U.S. being at the center of the onslaught.

For instance, a recent cyberattack on Clorox disrupted the company’s ability to produce cleaning materials. Their manufacturing operations, a vital OT component, took a significant hit, further highlighting the vulnerabilities within OT-based systems. As a result, the US-based cleaning products manufacturer said an August cyber security attack would weigh on its quarterly results, sending its shares lower. This is a recent example of how cyber incidents directly impact the bottom line.

Similarly, the MGM Resorts suffered a breach that paralyzed vast segments of its operations. It is believed that ALPHV, a notorious ransomware group, claimed responsibility for this attack. The affiliation of such significant names to these attacks emphasizes the gravity of the threat.

One approach to address these concerns involves an in-depth maturity controls assessment. Conducting such assessment(s) provides a gauge to your cybersecurity posture , ascertain desired milestones and risks, and identify potential roadblocks. These assessments’ critical process includes the MAPP approach — Maturity, Assessment, Profile, and Plan. This methodology aids in demystifying an organization’s resilience against ransomware threats, matching its progress with the typical lifecycle of a ransomware attack. Such a step-by-step approach enables organizations to spotlight vulnerabilities and prepare remediation strategies, keeping them steps ahead of potential attackers.

As 2023 unfolds, it is becoming increasingly evident that technological advancements come with threats. High-profile breaches and industry statistics serve as a clarion call for businesses to prioritize cyber resilience. In this battlefield, a proactive, informed, and comprehensive approach remains the best defense against the looming specter of ransomware.

Take a free Ransomware Readiness Assessment today!