Cybercriminals Are Moving from the Basement to the Boardroom

Greg Edwards

IT security threats are more of a concern to the business community than ever before. Cybercriminals are attacking from multiple angles, from the standard email and social engineering schemes to extremely sophisticated hacking methodologies. No organization is safe.

The statistics show what MSPs (and your clients) are up against. According to Group-IB threat research, ransomware surged by more than 150% in 2020, with the average dollar amount of these extortion attempts doubling during that time. When you factor in the rise in all types of cybersecurity incidents, it appears that the forces of evil are winning. How can cybercriminals have come so far, so fast?

The times are changing − and so are the people involved in attacking others’ IT systems. Hackers are no longer just a group of disheveled and socially awkward basement dwellers who guzzle Red Bull while writing malicious code at 3:00 AM. That stereotype is no longer applicable.

Cybercriminals are moving up the evolutionary ladder and adopting business models on par with some of their enterprise rivals. Many are becoming entrepreneurs and leveraging the same “as a Service” prototype to propagate their malware across a larger base of targets – exponentially expanding their earning potential.

Bad is Bad

Do not make the mistake of associating size and sophistication with threat level. Whether operating from their parent’s basement or renting upscale commercial space in downtown Beijing or Moscow, any cybercriminal can be a danger to your clients. Remember, all it takes is one simple mistake by an unsuspecting end-user to bring down a computer system, if not their entire business network.

All hackers are a threat. However, as these criminal organizations grow in size and refine their business models, they increase their ability to attack a greater number of organizations with more robust tools and methodologies. Efficiency and profitability are key objectives of the new cybercrime models (just like most businesses in their crosshairs).  

MSPs must be aware of these changes with their adversaries to protect their clients better. Business owners typically will not care whether the cybercriminal attacking their systems is a 16-year-old working from her basement or a highly skilled organization funded by nation-states or racketeers. Your objective in 2021 (and beyond) is to ensure neither group will be successful.

The tactics and tools MSPs use must change to meet all the threats, regardless of the model the attackers are employing. Your team is now facing highly organized and well-funded criminal enterprises planning innovative ways to profit from accessing your clients’ business systems. How you respond to this increasing threat will be critical to your cybersecurity practice’s success.

Provide Complete Protection

Businesses must accept that cybercriminals are pouring a tremendous number of resources into their ransomware tools, phishing programs, and other illicit activities. Do your clients understand the rising threats? Are they aware of all the latest options for minimizing the risk of an attack that could shut down their operations – whether short time or permanently?

Your clients need to know the importance of investing in new protection measures to combat the thriving professional cybercriminal community. The status quo could have serious ramifications for their cyber health.

Ransomware is the perfect example. The nation-state-funded syndicates continue to step up both the numbers and sophistication of their attacks, making it hard for even the most experienced and capable MSPs to prevent an intrusion. Cybercriminals just need one end-user to open an infected email attachment or click on the wrong link to ruin your day completely – and cause significant issues for that client.  

Next-level cybersecurity solutions can help MSPs address the latest threats. For example, CryptoStopper can neutralize ransomware that makes it through all the lines of defense, minimizing the damage these business-threatening attacks can inflict on your clients. Our solution continuously monitors for nefarious encryption activity and includes self-healing elements and offline alerts to ensure the networks you support are always protected.

Now is the time for MSPs to up their defensive games. Your clients likely won’t care if their attackers are basement dwellers or nation-state-supported syndicates as long as your team has them protected. Are they up to that task?


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