Ransomware and Cyber Extortion

How to protect your organisation

Executive Summary

All organisations face growing risks from cyber extortion, including ransomware.

In our engagement with boards and senior executives across industry and governments, we are consistently told that the growing threat of ransomware and cyber extortion is one of the most significant risks facing our organisations.

Governments and cyber security experts around the world are warning that these attacks have reached “pandemic” proportions.

This is no surprise: cyber extortion is a highly lucrative enterprise for cybercriminals.

In 2021, governments have grappled with how to put pressure back on cybercriminals. While cybercriminals still maintain a winning lead in this race, law enforcement agencies, particularly in the United States and Europe, have also stepped up their approach, with some notable recent disruption operations.

However, cybercriminals are resilient and innovative. As governments and police take action, criminals restructure their organisations and adapt their tactics, finding new ways to increase the impact of their attacks and also increase the pressure on victim organisations to pay up.

Every organisation needs a strategy for preventing and responding to ransomware and cyber extortion.

Government and law enforcement can certainly do more to address this chronic cybercrime issue, but all organisations can take more effective steps to prevent these attacks and minimise the damage when they occur. That’s where this CyberCX Best Practice Guide can help.

This Guide provides practical tools for people at all levels of an organisation to understand and manage the risk posed by ransomware and cyber extortion.

CyberCX is committed to protecting the communities we live in. We want all organisations to have access to knowledge and tools which will make it harder for cybercriminals to achieve their payday. By driving cost into the business models of cybercriminals, we can collectively disincentivise them from targeting organisations in our region.

This three-part guide is relevant to the following audiences:

Directors and boards

Senior leaders and executives

CISOs and security professionals


Ransomware and cyber extortion: The growing impact

Risks and trends

Anatomy of an attack


Protect your organisation

Seven priority security controls


Engaging with an attacker

Should you pay a ransom or extortion demand?

Principles of engagement