Events , Fraud Management & Cybercrime , Infosecurity Europe Conference

Ransomware Actors Focusing on More Opportunistic Targeting

Martin Zugec of Bitdefender on the Shifting Tactics of Cybercriminals
Martin Zugec, technical solutions director, Bitdefender

Ransomware tactics have shifted, and attackers are becoming much more opportunistic than they were in the past, said Martin Zugec, technical solutions director at Bitdefender. "They just steal as much data as they can," Zugec said, adding that there has been a decline in traditional ransomware attacks and a rise in data exfiltration over encryption.

See Also: Webinar | Everything You Can Do to Fight Social Engineering and Phishing

Cybercriminals exploit vulnerabilities indiscriminately, casting wide nets to maximize impact. Zugec emphasized the increasing automation in ransomware operations, which enables attackers to quickly compromise networks. The initial compromise now occurs less than 24 hours after a vulnerability is discovered, he said.

"The tactics that have been popular for years are slowly on the decline. We are seeing less traditional attacks. Data encryption and phishing attacks are on a slow decline," Zugec said. "There is more opportunistic targeting and bad actors are not picking up the victims and going after them. They are preying on vulnerabilities."

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group at Infosecurity Europe 2024, Zugec also discussed:

  • Why post-initial compromise activities rely on manual operations and custom tools;
  • The importance of timely vulnerability patching to prevent compromises;
  • Steps that organizations can take to defend against evolving threats.

Zugec has more than 20 years of experience in cybersecurity and has worked as an architect on virtualization projects globally. He is a regular speaker at major industry conferences, covering topics such as the tactics of threat actors, the evolving ransomware landscape and efficacy within security operations.

About the Author

Mathew J. Schwartz

Mathew J. Schwartz

Executive Editor, DataBreachToday & Europe, ISMG

Schwartz is an award-winning journalist with two decades of experience in magazines, newspapers and electronic media. He has covered the information security and privacy sector throughout his career. Before joining Information Security Media Group in 2014, where he now serves as the executive editor, DataBreachToday and for European news coverage, Schwartz was the information security beat reporter for InformationWeek and a frequent contributor to DarkReading, among other publications. He lives in Scotland.

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