Security Market Segment LS
Friday, 24 June 2016 12:00

Ransomware is world’s greatest IT security threat

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Ransomware infections are reaching pandemic rates, and it is only going to get worse. While most are aimed at Windows there are a growing number of iOS, macOS and Android versions as well.

Kaspersky Labs has revealed statistics gathered by its security network and says, “We are not trying to scare you – well, we are, but not for kicks.”

It has chronicled the evolution of ransomware and says after two waves — the original locker and then the cryptors  the third wave is coming, and there may not be anything you can do to minimise its effects. It will be more prevalent in enterprise this time around.

By the end of 2015, the number of ransomware attacks was increasing like an avalanche. In 2015–2016, four racketeering Trojans were the most active: TeslaCrypt (almost half of all attacks, but fortunately, it has decryptor for it), CTB-Locker, Scatter, and Cryakl (it also decrypta Cryakl). Those four families share almost 80% of the "market”.

Kaspersky's statistics for 2015-2016 are frightening

  • The total number of [Kaspersky] users who encountered ransomware between April 2015 and March 2016 rose by 17.7% compared to the previous 12 months (April 2014 to March 2015) – from 1,967,784 to 2,315,931 globally
  • The proportion of users who encountered ransomware at least once, out of the total number of users who encountered malware, rose to 4.34%
  • Among those who encountered ransomware, the proportion who encountered cryptors rose dramatically – 31.6% in 2015-2016;
  • The number of users attacked with cryptors rose 5.5 times to 718,536 in 2015-2016;
  • The number of users attacked with Win-lockers decreased 13.03%, to 1,597,395 in 2015-2016;

Australia is a target is not in the top 10 countries which faced such attacks:

Country

2014-2015

2015-2016

Year-to-Year Change (times)

Russian Federation

34226

177249

+5.18

India

4803

22572

+4.70

United States

15380

22155

+1.44

Germany

4744

96566

+20.36

Vietnam

2230

20409

+9.15

Ukraine

925

11257

+12.17

Kazakhstan

716

10025

+14.00

Algeria

728

5195

+7.14

Italy

4412

53039

+12.02

Brazil

1116

22307

+19.99

Others

61853

277962

+4.49

Kaspersky can only recommend you use a flagship level of paid security end-point protection and corporates have to look at DNS filtering to stop communication with command and control servers. In the end it’s the user who is the weak link – they must allow ransomware into the system.


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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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