Global cybersecurity and risk mitigation expert NCC Group monitored a slight decrease of 5% in ransomware attacks between January – December 2022 with 2,531 attacks, according to its 2022 Annual Threat Monitor Report. Although there were slightly less attacks than 2021, there was a notable surge in ransomware attacks between February and April, coinciding with the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict when prominent threat actor LockBit ramped up activity.
Analysis from across 2022 continues to highlight ransomware operators as effective innovators willing to find any opportunity and technique to extort money from their victims with data leaks and DDoS being added to their arsenal to mask more sophisticated attacks.
LockBit claimed the ‘top spot’ for most active threat actor in 2022, responsible for 33% of all monitored ransomware attacks (846), a 94% increase on its 2021 activity (436 attacks). The group’s activity peaked in April with 103 attacks, ahead of the launch of a new ransomware software and rebrand to LockBit 3.0.
BlackCat accounted for 8% of the total attacks in 2022. With a quiet start in December 2021 (4 attacks), the group went on to average 18 attacks each month, with a peak of 30 incidents in December 2022.
Leading threat actor of 2021, Russia affiliated, Conti reduced attack levels dramatically to just 7% of all recorded (21% in 2021), with no attacks monitored from June onwards. This reduction in activity coincided with the introduction of new group BlackBasta, believed to be associated with – or a replacement for – Conti.
North America and Europe suffered the most ransomware attacks in 2022. North America bore the brunt, with 44% of all incidents (1,106), a 24% decrease on 2021’s figures (1,447).
Europe observed 35% of all incidents, with an 11% increase in attack numbers, witnessing 896 in 2022 as compared to 810 in 2021. It was potentially influenced by surges in activity associated with the Russia-Ukraine conflict in the first half of the year.
The insights are based on incidents identified by NCC Group’s global managed detection and response service (MDR) and its global cyber incident response team (CIRT).