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In recent times, ransomware attacks have evolved, with cyber criminals adopting a new tactic known as “encryption-less” ransomware attacks.

Previously, attackers would steal a portion of data from a database and then encrypt the entire repository, demanding payment for decryption keys. They would also threaten to leak sensitive information if the ransom was not paid promptly.

However, a notable shift has occurred in the way ransomware attackers operate. They now seek to minimize the impact on their victims by establishing a 24×7 customer service channel. Through this channel, victims can negotiate and facilitate the decryption of their compromised databases.

This customer service approach not only minimizes downtime for victims but also reduces the number of incidents reported to the media, law enforcement, and data protection agencies, allowing cyber criminals to operate for a longer period.

Surveys conducted by CrowdStrike and Cisco Talos have shown a significant increase in encryption-less extortion attacks. In these attacks, criminals threaten to expose stolen data unless a payment is made. This approach benefits both parties, as victims pay a smaller sum, and cyber criminals can bypass modern threat monitoring solutions.

Whether this shift in ransomware tactics is a lasting transformation or a temporary phase remains uncertain. Future developments will determine the persistence or transience of this evolution.

In recent incidents like the MoveIT cyber attack, encryption-less data extortion attacks have been showcased. The dynamic nature of cyber threats makes it challenging to predict the future trajectory of this cybersecurity landscape.

Key points:
1. Ransomware attacks have evolved, with cyber criminals adopting “encryption-less” tactics.
2. Attackers establish a 24×7 customer service channel for negotiating decryption of compromised databases.
3. Minimizing downtime and reducing the number of reported incidents allows cyber criminals to operate for a longer period.
4. Surveys indicate a significant increase in encryption-less extortion attacks.
5. The future trajectory of this evolution is uncertain, and time will reveal its persistence or transience.

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