And no sector is safe from attacks, with cyber criminals targeting critical infrastructure, hospitals and more. In many cases, the victims will give in and pay the ransom demand in order to restore the network.
Analysis of ransomware during the first six months of this year uncovered 10,666 ransomware variants, compared with 5,400 during the second half of 2021 – a twofold increase in the kinds of ransomware in existence.
According to the report, one of the biggest drivers of this is the rise of ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS). Sold on the dark web, these subscription services are designed to allow even novice or low-skilled cyber criminals to get involved with ransomware, with many coming with how-to guides and support from the author.
Often, the authors of the ransomware will take a cut of the profits made from extorting ransom demands – and some ransomware operations become more successful and more notorious than others.
But it's unlikely those behind Conti have just retired: the individuals working on the ransomware have likely found their way into other ransomware operations, perhaps even lending their skills to help develop new ransomware variants.
This, combined with the continued success of ransomware attacks, means that it will remain a cybersecurity issue for the foreseeable future.
"Ransomware, exploitation, and attacks on the supply chain will continue to dominate headlines due to their notoriety and disruptive nature, so we shouldn't expect them to disappear anytime soon," warned the Fortinet report.