2016 Could Be ‘Record’ Year For Ransomware Attacks

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Last month saw a higher number of ransomware attacks than the entire first half of 2015, Trend Micro report finds

This year could see the largest number of ransomware attacks on record, if initial figures from the first two months of 2016 are anything to go by.

Researchers at security firm Trend Micro have revealed that there were more ransomware-related infections found in February this year as the first six months of last year in total.

The figures also found that there were more than twice as many infections last month than in the entire first three months of 2015, and that the combination of January and February 2016’s tally is already more than triple the infection count for the first three months of last year.


Ransom, gun, laptop, crime © Tatiana Popova, Shutterstock 2014“While ransomware initially just locked computers during startup, it now encrypts all valuable data as crypto ransomware and companies are increasingly at risk of losing their valuable assets”, said Raimund Genes, CTO at Trend Micro.

“In order to retrieve these assets, a payment is usually requirement. This process fuels cybercrime and it’s up to all of us to dry this infamous business model out by putting an effective protection and recovery process in place.”

Trend Micro’s figures show that the UK’s share of global ransomware has jumped from one percent at the end of 2014 to almost five percent as of February 2016, with the biggest spike coming this year, as the country becomes an ever more attractive target for criminals.

Recent figures from security firm Bitdefender also found that ransomware attacks against the UK have grown by such an extent that the country is now hit by nearly one of every ten infections worldwide.

Overall, 9.1 percent of all ransomware-infected emails detected in 2015 targeted internet users in the UK, with 54 percent of all malware files targeting UK internet users also containing ransomware.

A separate study by ESET also found that ransomware is an increasingly dangerous proposition for many UK businesses, with over a third of UK companies having either personally been held to ransom by hackers, or know someone that has had their networks infected by ransomware.

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