The Thanksgiving Cyber Siege: Rising Ransomware Attacks Across the United States

December 12, 2023

3 Steps to Cyber Resilience

The 2023 Thanksgiving holiday, typically a time of celebration, was marred by ransomware breaches that had a significant impact on many large organizations throughout the United States. Read on to discover the reasons behind this alarming trend and why tighter cybersecurity measures are needed.

Ransomware attacks are essentially encryption-based data extortion where threat actors block access to your data until a ransom is paid, after which a decryption key is given to retrieve the data. According to a ransomware trend report, businesses and organizations in the United States remain the most lucrative targets for these threat actors, accounting for 43% of all global attacks.

November 2023 ransomware events in the United States included:

  • The booster system used to monitor and regulate water pressure at Aliquippa Municipal Water Authority in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was attacked.
  • Fidelity National Financials reported unauthorized access to their systems and acquisition of credentials.
  • The City of Hendersonville in Tennessee is investigating a cyber incident that targeted its employee data.

Why are ransomware attacks on the rise?

As our lives become increasingly digitized, the rate of ransomware attacks follows suit. Cybercriminals are becoming shrewder and exploiting this shift for financial gain. The rise of cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin, provides an untraceable payment method, making the operation risk-free and lucrative. Artificial Intelligence (AI) further empowers these cybercriminals by automating the finding and exploiting weaknesses in security systems. But AI isn’t just the bad guys’ tool; it can be our superhero, helping to detect and block these attacks before they strike.

3 steps to cyber resilience for organizations in the United States

  1. Penetration Testing
    Conducting annual penetration tests, or more frequently following significant infrastructure changes, is a proactive measure to discover vulnerabilities before cybercriminals do. This approach offers a high ROI by preventing breaches that could incur substantial expenses.
  2. Use Future-proof Tools
    Managed Endpoint Detection and Response (MEDR) is a next-generation solution that protects supported endpoints and responds to neutralize potential threats before they compromise your operations. MEDR is a future-proof response to today’s highly sophisticated cyber attacks.
  3. Employee Cybersecurity Training
    Human error often causes cyber breaches. Therefore, quarterly cybersecurity awareness training for employees is crucial. This cost-effective measure could save your organization from significant financial and reputation losses.

Additionally, choosing a competent IT partner is your best bet in this fight. The right partner will build both offensive and defensive strategies around your business infrastructure, catering to your budget. A strong partnership with your IT vendor goes beyond business; it’s a commitment to growth and stability.

Learn more about how Konica Minolta can help.

Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta is reshaping and revolutionizing the workplace to achieve true connectivity through the Intelligent Connected Workplace. The company guides and supports its clients’ digital transformation through its expansive office technology portfolio, including IT Services (All Covered), intelligent information management, managed print services and industrial and commercial print solutions.