Crypto-ransomware attacks increase five fold

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Ransomware has become a big problem in recent years, particularly crypto-ransomware, which encrypts data on users’ systems. New research by Kaspersky Lab looking at how it’s evolved over the last two years points to just how big.

Among the findings are that the number of users attacked with crypto-ransomware rose 5.5 times, from 131,111 in 2014-2015 to 718,536 in 2015-2016. The total number of users encountering any type of ransomware between April 2015 and March 2016 also increased by 17.7 percent compared to the period April 2014 to March 2015.

The share of users encountering ransomware at least once as a proportion of the total number of users encountering malware rose 0.7 percentage points, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. The study also shows that the United States, Germany, and Italy are the countries with the highest percentage of users attacked with encryption ransomware.

“The biggest problem with crypto-ransomware today is that sometimes the only way to get the encrypted data back is to pay the criminals, and victims tend to pay. That brings a lot of money into the underground ecosystem that has grown up around this malware, and as a result we are seeing new cryptors appear almost daily,” says Fedor Sinitsyn, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab. “Companies and regular users can protect themselves by implementing regular backups, using a proven security solution and keeping themselves informed about current cybersecurity risks. The ransomware business model seems to be profitable and safe for criminals, and the security industry and users can change that just by implementing these basic measures”.

Kaspersky offers a number of tips for consumers to protect themselves, including using a reliable security solution, making sure the software on your machine is kept up to date, and taking regular backups.

More detailed information on the findings is available on the Kaspersky website.

Photo credit: Bacho / Shutterstock

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