Which industries will Ransomware hackers strike next?

They’ve taken hospitals, power plants, oil and gas companies and governmental departments offline… no, we’re not talking about Donald Trump and the Republican Party’s plans for selling off America to the highest bidder (Moscow and Beijing) – we’re talking about Ransomware hackers.

In the last couple of years, Ransomware has gone from minor pain in the backside to billion dollar industry. So where are their botnets, spearfishing emails and malware going to strike next?


Earlier this year, the NTT Security’s Global Threat Intelligence Report – the most comprehensive report of its kind, based on analysis of over 3.5 trillion logs – identified more than 6.2 billion attempted attacks over a 12-month period but that was before WannaCry and NotPetya tightened their icy grip around the throats of the world’s industries.

The report states that 19% of attacks targeted government and government agencies with the Healthcare sector acting as the next highest-profile target, accounting for 15% of attacks.

Ransomware attacks against the retail industry account for a further 15%of all incidents. All other industries make up the remaining 23%, according to the NTT Security report.


We expect these already-hit industries to see a rise in the number of attacks in the coming years. That’s because Healthcare and governmental departments are easy targets – yes they’re licenses to print money, but these two giants are sometimes small franchises that aren’t exactly famous for their cybersecurity.

Your Chief Security Officer, Moss from the I.T. Crowd might be good at his job but a one-man security guard can’t hold off Ransomware attacks from every corner of the world.

Conversely, despite the fact that the banking and finance sectors, which have already been hit – WannaCry crippling outdated Windows XP systems around the world and affecting 70% of Indian ATM machines, they are heavily security conscious and are more likely to be able to divert the forethought, funding and wherewithal to defend themselves with heavily armored security systems.


Well, this is a tricky subject as it’s completely hypothetical and we’re ready to be proven wrong by the 12-year-old Korean boy who split his time hacking and entering televised Korean rap-battles and who is near-certain to make his way to the top of the FBI Cyber Division’s Most Wanted List.

But after some thought, and putting ourselves in the mind of a Ransomware author or RaaS (Ransomware as a Service) franchiser, we decided we would go after some new, so far untouched industries. And to do that I’d first follow the money trail before boldly claiming “Show Me The Money!”


There are dozens of industries we could unleash malware onto, but which would piss most people off? Hacking transport networks just gives people a day or two off work, but imagine if you were sitting down halfway through next year’s Super Bowl 52 half-time show, the New England Patriots leading the Cleveland Browns by 7 points to 3 (Ha! Remember this is hypothetical alternate universe!) and Justin Timberlake causes Janet Jackson to have another “wardrobe malfunction” when the screen freezes to be replaced by this:

Or imagine if the multi-billion dollar NASCAR or Formula One seasons were hijacked by ransomware. EFL – English Premiership Football recently signed a seven billion dollar contract for worldwide broadcasting rights proving that’s where some big money lies… 

With the prospect of any given Sunday’s NFL or Major League Baseball game across America or next Saturday’s English soccer match not being transmitted, the broadcasters would surely cough up rather than miss out on a worldwide audience, wouldn’t they?

Can you imagine gatecrashing the world’s biggest sports events and broadcasts with Ransomware?

Then picture the knock-on effects: Sports bars across the world would be deserted, tumbleweed would roll across betting shop floors and Budweiser sales would plummet.

Better still, go for the Sports companies themselves – John W. Henry’s Fenway Sports Group which owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool Football Club. Even better, give those pesky Ruskies a taste of their own medicine by holding 2018’s Soccer World Cup Finals in Russia to ransom by threatening to take away an audience of one billion viewers….

But there’s one sport that utilizes tech more than any other and is, therefore, nailing a massive neon sign saying “HACK US NOW” above its doors.


Like many sports, Formula One is huge everywhere but America and requiring 1,000+ tech experts for every racing team, it is surely the sport that relies most upon technology.

Last year, U.S. Software company Acronis teamed up with F1 Team Toro Rosso to make improvements to its data back-up and safe file distribution but even so, Acronis president, John Zanni believes F1 needs to be doing more to protect itself.

In this article, he states: “F1 has been lucky up to now… No one has thought of shutting down F1 for a weekend but I suspect that somebody who is really, really smart could probably figure out how to do it.

“I’ve asked a few people in F1 about it and they have said, ‘Why would anyone attack us? We just want to make sure our competitors don’t see our data – so, that is the only thing where I feel they are a bit behind.”


But it’s not just sports that has been lucky so far… by crippling media outlets such as NewsCorp, Richard Murdoch’s company that owns stakes in Fox News, Fox Sports, Sky Television and half of the UK’s and Australia’s newspapers, ransomware hackers will be killing two birds with one stone – making money and making the world a better place by hijacking headlines to bring us all some good news.

Though they rely on tech for their business models, Broadcasters and Sports companies won’t be half as well secured as other tech-heavy companies, perhaps being a good five years behind the Banking, Finance and Tech industries.

RWNZ Boston’s advice to the sports, media, broadcast worlds – and any other industry that might be lagging behind – you better protect catch up fast by protecting your business continuity with Unitrends bespoke portfolio of virtual, physical, and cloud solutions.


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