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Ransomware Gangs Dial Up New Tactics: Ransomware Attacks Evolve to Direct Calls

Ransomware attacks

Ransomware attacks evolve

Ransomware attacks are evolving beyond digital breaches to include direct, real-time intimidation tactics. Recently, a ransomware gang attempted to extort a company by calling their front desk, showcasing a shift towards more aggressive and personal methods of coercion.

The Incident Overview

A member of a ransomware group made a phone call to the front desk of a company they claimed to have breached. The interaction, was recorded and shared by the gang on their dark web site. It was intended to pressure the company into paying a ransom. However, the call ended up being an ineffective and somewhat comical attempt to intimidate the company’s employees.

What Happened During the Call?

The criminal, seeking to speak with the management team, was repeatedly put on hold before an HR employee took the call. The hacker explained the urgency of their ransom demand, threatening to release the stolen data publicly for misuse in fraudulent activities and terrorism if the company did not comply within eight hours.

The receptionist remained calm and composed, but it did highlight her unfamiliarity with the technical aspects of data breaches but also her resilience against the hacker’s attempts to instil fear.

The Hacker’s Frustration

As the call progressed, the hacker grew increasingly agitated, especially after Beth questioned the legality of their actions. The conversation ended with the receptionist refusing to negotiate, asserting she would not engage with terrorists or hackers, and the hacker awkwardly thanking her before ending the call.

Implications for Businesses

This incident illustrates a critical new dimension in ransomware tactics—direct human interaction. Businesses must now prepare not only their IT departments but also their frontline staff to handle such scenarios.

Steps to Strengthen Your Defence Against Ransomware Calls:

  • Educate All Employees: Conduct regular training sessions for all staff, not just the IT department, on how to handle suspicious calls.


  • Establish Clear Protocols: Develop and communicate clear procedures for reporting and handling ransomware threats that include any form of communication.


  • Strengthen Technical Defences: Ensure robust cybersecurity measures are in place to prevent breaches that could lead to these situations.


  • Promote a Culture of Security Awareness: Encourage a workplace environment where security is everyone’s responsibility not just the computer department.



The evolution of ransomware tactics to include direct calls highlights the need for comprehensive security strategies that encompass both technical and human factors. By preparing all employees to deal with these situations calmly and knowledgeably, businesses can better protect themselves from the multifaceted threats posed by modern criminals. We can help by providing awareness sessions run by your local Police Service, Regional Organised Crime Units and bespoke training with our Cyber Pathway Teams. 



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