Researches from RiskSense, a risk-based vulnerability management service, discovered 223 different vulnerabilities in the Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures (CVE) database that were used in ransomware attacks throughout 2020. This is four times the number of vulnerabilities related to ransomware than found in 2019 by RiskSense.

The findings also show that ransomware families are not only growing but they are also becoming more complex. The previous report from 2019 found that there were 19 separate ransomware families, but the 2020 report identified 125 different families. These ransomware groups are drastically expanding their operations, selling their tools to third parties, building new malware variants, and attacking flaws in web applications and software.

Natalie Page, Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst from Sy4 Security, said that “in 2020, ransomware attacks not only grew drastically in numbers, but broke records for its reckless and damaging methods. We found that 30% of our own reporting from the Threat Intelligence team last year solely concerned ransomware, but for every report we produced regarding ransomware, we emulated with reports on emerging vulnerabilities”.

Stephen Kapp, CTO and Founder of Cortex Insight said, “ransomware, just like all the various flavours of malware before it is here to stay. This report is highlighting how important it is to ensure every security patch is implemented and that it is implemented quickly. Some of the reports oldest highlighted vulnerabilities were not in Operating Systems but third party applications. The more time passes by on these older vulnerabilities, the more likely someone will develop a usable exploit to be used in ransomware. So, it is ever more important to ensure that all security updates for all your software are applied as soon as possible, that includes your operating system, as well as first and third-party applications”.


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