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Ransomware takes malware lead

Until now most IT professionals have been more concerned about Advanced Persistent Threat attacks, but according to a new report from Kaspersky, that’s about to change. Ransomware attacks have increased 14 per cent over the last quarter and this variation of malware is likely to increase.

Kaspersky Lab security solutions prevented 376,602 ransomware attacks on users, 17 per cent of which targeted the corporate sector.

The most famous example of ransomware was the Trojan called Locky, which Kaspersky detected as active in 114 countries. Another dangerous one was called Petya, which would overwrite the master boot record of the disk drive and therefore prevent a computer system from working at all.

“One of the reasons why ransomware has become so popular lies in the simplicity of the business model used by cybercriminals,” said Aleks Gostev, Chief Security Expert in the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT). “Once the ransomware gets into the users’ system there is almost no chance of getting rid of it without losing personal data. Also, the demand to pay the ransom in bitcoins makes the payment process anonymous and almost untraceable which is very attractive to fraudsters.

“Another threatening trend is the Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model where cybercriminals pay a fee for the propagation of malware or promise a percentage of the ransom paid by an infected user.”