Ransomware top emerging risk for c-suite

A recent report says that new ransomware models are the “top concern” facing executives.

The report by Gartner shows the top five risks cited by the execs in the Q3 2021, with four of them being tied to the pandemic and its “implications for work”:

As well as ransomware, the other key emerging risks identified by the report were recruiting
post-pandemic talent; continuing concerns over COVID-19; supply chain disruptions; and hybrid workforce disparities

There are several reasons why ransomware has become such a concern.

The ransomware business model has become more specialized and otherwise efficient, including ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) and demand for bitcoin pay-outs, resulting in a proliferation of attacks

The technology for the attacks themselves has also evolved, with viruses that linger and infect backup systems, do not rely on phishing as a vector, and harder-to-identify viruses, such as fileless and crypto-jacking attacks.

“The negative impact of evolving ransomware attacks is seen as so severe by executives that it tops a notable list of risks related to an ongoing pandemic and the disruption of the global supply chain,” said Matt Shinkman, vice president, Gartner Risk and Audit.

“While new models of ransomware attacks are frightening in their own right, the consequences for organizations are even worse. Prolonged operational delays, data loss and exposure as well as the reputational damage that follows present potential existential risks to an organization that executives are all too well aware of, especially if the attacks occur as a result of inadequate cybersecurity controls.”

Shinkman stressed that risks related to the pandemic are ongoing issues for executives.

“The early calculus of how best to return employees to the office has been supplanted by a range of concerns around ongoing hybrid work disparity, a lack of effective training and development in such an environment and in many cases, historic levels of employee turnover,” Shinkman said.

“Managing new working models in an endemic COVID-19 environment is clearly going to be a more difficult scenario than simply the post-pandemic plans, which many executives were relying upon just a few months ago.”

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