Ivanti, Cyber Security Works and Cyware released a report that identified 32 new ransomware families in 2021, bringing the total to 157, a 26% increase from the previous year.

The report also found that these ransomware groups will continue to target unpatched vulnerabilities and weaponize zero-day vulnerabilities in record time to instigate disabling attacks. Simultaneously, they are broadening their attack spheres and devising new ways to compromise organisational networks and launch high-impact attacks with impunity.

Srinivas Mukkamala, SVP of Security Products at Ivanti, said: “Ransomware groups are becoming more sophisticated, and their attacks more impactful. These threat actors are increasingly leveraging automated tool kits to exploit vulnerabilities and penetrate deeper into compromised networks. They are also expanding their targets and waging more attacks on critical sectors, disrupting daily lives and causing unprecedented damage. Organizations need to be extra vigilant and patch weaponized vulnerabilities without delays. This requires leveraging a combination of risk-based vulnerability prioritization and automated patch intelligence to identify and prioritize vulnerability weaknesses and then accelerate remediation.”

Anuj Goel, CEO at Cyware, said, “The substantive change we’ve observed across the ransomware landscape is that the attackers are looking to penetrate processes like patch deployment as much as they look for gaps in protection to penetrate systems. Vulnerability discovery must be met with an action that treats vulnerability data as intelligence to drive swift response decisions. As ransomware gangs operationalize their tooling, methods and target lists, its essential for SecOps teams to automate processes to self-heal vulnerable assets and systems to mitigate risk through real-time intelligence operationalization.”