The Staggering Rise of Ransomware Attacks in 2023

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Cybersecurity

THUNDER BAY – TECH – Across Western Canada, London Drugs closed the doors to their stores on the weekend due to a cyber issue.

London Drugs announced the indefinite closure of all its 79 stores across British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The widespread shutdown marks a significant disruption in service for the popular retail chain.

Sudden Shutdown Affects 79 Locations

The decision to close the stores comes as the company grapples with the ramifications of the cyberattack, which has impacted operations across four provinces. London Drugs is actively working to resolve the issue, though no timeline has been provided for when the stores might reopen.

Customer and Employee Data Reportedly Safe

Despite the severity of the attack, London Drugs has assured the public that there appears to be no compromise of employee or customer data. This announcement comes as a relief amid growing concerns over personal data security in cyber incidents. The retailer is continuing its investigation into the breach and has implemented additional security measures to safeguard against future attacks.

These kinds of attacks are on the rise. NTT Security Holdings’ 2024 Global Threat Intelligence Report indicates that ransomware and extortion incidents surged by an alarming 67% in 2023.

This rise underscores a critical challenge for businesses, particularly as these trends are predicted to continue escalating.

The Staggering Rise of Ransomware Attacks in 2023

After a relatively quiet 2022, the surge in cyberattacks has been sharp and significant. Over 5,000 ransomware victims were identified in 2023, a notable increase from the approximately 3,000 incidents recorded in 2022.

The NTT report, developed through extensive internal research and data from extortion sites and social channels, highlights a grim reality: many incidents likely remain unreported as businesses may pay ransoms before becoming public.

How Canada’s Economy Could Be Impacted

Canada’s economy, with its significant number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is particularly vulnerable. The report notes that over 50% of ransomware victims had fewer than 200 employees, making local businesses prime targets due to potentially limited cybersecurity resources.

Cybersecurity Strategies for Local Businesses

Jeremy Nichols, Director at NTT’s Global Threat Intelligence Center, points out that threat actors are becoming increasingly sophisticated, using advanced artificial intelligence to exploit cybersecurity gaps. For Canadian businesses, this means adopting proactive cybersecurity measures is more crucial than ever.

Here are some strategies to consider:

  1. Enhance Employee Training: As the human factor remains a significant vulnerability, increasing cybersecurity awareness among staff is essential.
  2. Invest in Robust Cybersecurity Infrastructure: Given the increasing sophistication of attacks, investing in up-to-date cybersecurity technologies and services is vital.
  3. Develop a Comprehensive Incident Response Plan: Prepare for potential cyberattacks with a clear, actionable response plan that includes steps for recovery and communication.

Access the Full Report

For a detailed analysis of the latest cyber threats and effective countermeasures, local businesses and stakeholders are encouraged to review the full 2024 Global Threat Intelligence Report, available at NTT Security Holdings.

About NTT Security Holdings

With over two decades of experience in proactive cyber defense, NTT Security Holdings has been at the forefront of protecting digital enterprises from evolving cyber threats. Their collective expertise and global resources play a pivotal role in securing the digital landscape, ensuring that businesses can thrive in an increasingly connected world.

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