Ransomware infections suffered by companies tripled in 12 months

Pierluigi Paganini December 12, 2016

According to a new report published by Kaspersky Lab, the number of ransomware infections suffered by companies threefold from January to September.

The number of ransomware infections suffered by companies continues to increase and according to a new report published by the security firm Kaspersky Lab, it increased threefold from January to September.

One in every five businesses worldwide has been victims of a ransomware and the rate of ransomware attacks increased from one every two minutes to one every 40 seconds.

This alarming data confirm that the ransomware is one of the most dangerous threats in the current cyber security landscape.

Ransomware could have a dramatic impact on companies, 67 percent of the firm that was affected lost part or all of their corporate data and 25% victims spent several weeks trying to decrypt the data.

Experts from Kaspersky have detected 32,091 new ransomware variations in the third quarter, a significant increase compared to 2,900 variations discovered during the first quarter. According to the experts, 62 new ransomware families were observed in the wild this year.

The situation is even more worrisome when dealing with consumers, in their case the infection data reached one attack every 10 seconds in September.

In the criminal underground, such kind of threat is becoming even more popular, malware authors are developing new ransomware that presents sophisticated features and that are able to evade detection.

Ransomware allows criminal organizations to rapidly cash out their efforts, despite the numerous recommendation to avoid paying the ransom still a large number of victims prefer to pay it to decrypt their documents.

“Ransomware has completely dominated the current threat landscape,” explained Bharat Mistry, cyber-security consultant at Trend Micro.

“During the first part of 2016, we blocked and detected almost 80 million ransomware threats and identified 79 new ransomware families – comparing to 29 in the whole of 2015. That’s a 179 percent increase. Quite a few of those were built with routines that are designed to attack enterprise machine and endpoints. It’s time companies take heed.”

The analysis conducted by Kaspersky confirmed that SMBs are mostly targeted by ransomware, 42 percent of them suffered a ransomware-based attack over the past 12 months. Of those, one in three paid up the ransom, but one in five never got their files back, despite paying.

Giving a close look at the threats, CTB-Locker has represented one of the most dangerous threat. One of four ransomware victims was infected by the CTB-Locker. Other successful ransomware were Locky (7 percent) and TeslaCrypt (6.5 percent).

The researchers observed that ransomware infections are the result of more targeted attacks leveraging on spear-phishing messages and social engineering attacks against specific organizations.

Targeted attacks allow cyber criminals to maximize the likelihood victims will pay up the ransom.

How to defeat the ransomware?

Kaspersky urges companies to increase awareness about the threat by training its employees and to back up sensitive data regularly.

It is important to adopt security solutions and to maintain installed software up to date.

Below key figures of the report:

  • 62 new ransomware families made their appearance.
  • There was an 11-fold increase in the number of ransomware modifications: from 2,900 new modifications in January/March, to 32,091 in July/September.
  • Attacks on business increased three-fold between January and the end of September: the difference between an attack every 2 minutes and one every 40 seconds.
  • For individuals the rate of increase went from every 20 seconds to every 10 seconds.
  • One in five small and medium-sized business who paid the ransom never got their data back.

I suggest you read the report.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – ransomware, cybercrime)

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