Cybercrime , Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Ransomware

APJ Ransomware Victim Count Has Doubled Since 2022

LockBit Group Accounted for 51% of Ransomware Attacks on APJ Organizations
APJ Ransomware Victim Count Has Doubled Since 2022

The Asia-Pacific and Japan region experienced a staggering surge in ransomware victims in just one year, and the LockBit ransomware group was the dominant force behind these attacks.

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Cybersecurity and cloud services company Akamai highlighted the adoption of zero-day and one-day vulnerabilities that resulted in a 204% surge in ransomware victims in the APJ region from Q1 2022 to Q1 23.

Based on information collected from ransomware groups' leak sites, Akamai found vital infrastructure within the APJ region under deliberate ransomware assault. Among the most targeted APJ industries are manufacturing, business services, construction and retail, along with energy, utilities and telecommunications.

Among organized ransomware groups, LockBit accounted for 51% of attacks in the region. The group mainly targeted manufacturing, business services and construction companies.

The LockBit group also dominated ransomware activity globally in terms of the volume of attacks and consistency. Following the Conti group's takedown, LockBit's victim count rose 92% between Q4 22 and Q1 23. The group is consistently finding about 50 victims a month.

Akamai's analysis also revealed that LockBit's pillars of success include lucrative bug bounty programs that the group regularly conducts to uncover vulnerabilities in its malware arsenal, offering up to $1 million as rewards, a robust affiliate program that allows members to retain 75% of ransom payments, and the group's engagement with independent brokers who offer access to vulnerable networks in exchange for a fee.

Akamai also found that attackers preferred data theft over data encryption, making double-extortion tactics less likely. Also, cybercriminals appear to be targeting organizations with higher numbers of IoT connections, such as manufacturing plants.

Smaller Organizations Targeted

While large organizations held for ransom tend to make the headlines, Akamai found that ransomware groups heavily victimized smaller organizations in APJ, earning an estimated $50 million. The firm said that many smaller companies lack the resources to combat targeted and sophisticated ransomware attacks and are easier to hack.

The rising tide of ransomware attacks has forced Asia-Pacific countries to collaborate and synchronize their efforts to enhance their defensive capabilities, Akamai said.

"Earlier this year, the International Counter Ransomware Task Force, chaired by Australia, was established to drive greater collaboration among a coalition of 36 member states and the E.U. to counter the spread and impact of ransomware, including the sharing of cyber threat intelligence. In October 2022, Singapore also formed its first inter-agency task force consisting of multiple government agencies to help defend businesses and critical infrastructure against ever-growing ransomware attacks," Akamai added.


About the Author

Jayant Chakravarti

Jayant Chakravarti

Senior Editor, APAC

Chakravarti covers cybersecurity developments in the Asia-Pacific region. He has been writing about technology since 2014, including for Ziff Davis.




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