Ransomware remains one of the biggest threats businesses face, and in a year of global inflation and huge energy price rises, it’s not surprising that the cost of a data breach has reached an all-time high. This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we look at how cybercriminals’ tactics have evolved, and what you can do to protect your business.

Ransomware attacks are a successful and highly profitable criminal business model. During the first half of 2022, there were a total of 236.1 million ransomware attacks worldwide, worth an estimated $14 billion to cybercrime groups. Ransomware is a popular attack method because, unlike most forms of crime, it generates direct revenue for the criminal; there’s no need for complex money laundering or ‘cashing out’.

Ransomware attacks surged with the emergence of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin in 2010. These virtual currencies provided an easy and untraceable method for receiving payment from victims, turning ransomware into a lucrative criminal business model.

That in turn led to the development of another revenue stream for cybercriminals, they further monetize their ransomware products by leasing them out to other criminal gangs, known as Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS). The use of RaaS lowers the bar to entry fo