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GCHQ cyber security boss sounds ransomware alarm

Ransomware is the biggest threat going forward, warns GCHQ.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre has issued a stark warning about the proliferation of ransomware. According to a story in The Guardian, the head of GCHQ’s cybersecurity division, Lindy Cameron will warn experts that ransomware attacks are escalating and becoming increasingly professionalised.

Due to speak at the Rusi thinktank on Monday, Cameron will warn the ransomware threat is urgent.

A number of high-profile ransomware incidents have already made headlines since the start of the year, including the Colonial Pipeline and JBS Foods – both of which resulted in multimillion dollar pay outs.

According to a report from eSentire, just six ransomware groups are responsible for breaking cybersecurity defences of 292 organisations and earning an estimated US$45 million between January and April 2021.

Industry experts are already warning that introduction of ransomware-as-a-service will further accelerate the number of attacks, not just against enterprise organisations, but to SMBs and individuals. In the future, it is feasible that people will face some form of ransomware extortion.  

“If a student’s dissertation is held, how likely is it that they will pay GBP£400-500 to get it back?,” said Jonathan Whitley, regional vice president,  Northern Europe, WatchGuard Technologies. “It is likely that most people will pay’” he added.