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Experts fear more large-scale ransomware attacks will occur in 2022

Colonial Pipeline
Posted at 9:22 AM, Dec 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-30 12:51:40-05

The past year has shown just how much cyberattacks can impact everyday life.

Hackers briefly shut down the Colonial Gasoline Pipeline and JBS Foods, the world's biggest meat supplier, earlier this year, briefly causing shortages in the energy and food sectors.

Although the federal government and companies are taking proactive steps, cybersecurity experts still say ransomware will be the biggest threat to businesses in the new year. Such attacks are projected to cost companies $265 billion by 2031.

Jonathan Tock, a senior director at cybersecurity firm SpearTip, says ransomware attacks will continue to target third-party vendors who support major supply chain firms.

"It is going to continue to happen into the new year and continue to, I think, even become more and more prolific," Tock said.

Supply chain attacks can mean a shortage of products or the theft of customers' private information from retailers.

SpearTip recommends constantly monitoring all accounts to try and prevent stolen information. They also say consumers should report anything that looks suspicious.

"I think it's the accountability is what causes action on the on the side of consumers, so holding companies accountable," Tock said. "We've all gotten the letters in the mail that says, 'Hey, we experienced a breach, this is what happened, here's 24/7 credit monitoring,' and take people up on that. I'm always shocked at the low amount of intake when someone does have something happen, taking up on that free credit monitoring, because it can be something that's really impactful."

As cybersecurity firms continue to step up protections, criminals are testing more malicious software. SpearTip says it's tracking new emerging software called "Black Cat."

They hope to see more cybersecurity efforts at the federal level, especially regarding education, to prevent future attacks from happening.