Ransomware: An increasingly lucrative business

Ransomware has firmly established itself as a favourite of cyber criminals seeking easy financial gain. The premise is simple, infect a user’s computer and block file access until a financial payment is made. Then demand that the user pay a certain amount of cryptocurrency (usually Bitcoin) within a given time window for the release of their files. Failure to meet the ransom results in permanently unrecoverable files.

Whilst many may scoff at the idea of capitulating to the demands of cyber criminals, a recently released report by BitDefender suggests that over half of victims are willing to pay up to $500 for the release of their files.

The same report explains that 50% of U.S victims have already paid cyber criminals for a decryption key, whilst in the UK 44% of those affected capitulated to ransom demands.

Above: Silobreaker’s Time Series demonstrates Crypto Locker as one the most prominent ransomware of the last 30 days. Another development made clear by the infographic is the emergence of of the Locky Ransomware. First picked up by Silobreaker on February 16th, Locky is now beginning to dominate cyber news columns due to its connection with the infamous Dridex Group.

This trend appears likely to continue upwards in the coming months. As the code behind ransomware becomes more sophisticated, it is becoming harder and harder to find any solution to file recovery other than financial compliance.

In fact, at a recent cybersecurity conference, a senior FBI agent admitted “the ransomware is that good, to be honest, we often advise people to just pay the ransom.”

This damning indictment, coming from an agent working for the FBI’s Cyber and Counterintelligence Program, demonstrates how effective existing ransomware can be.

With new ransomware being detected on an almost daily basis, conscientious monitoring of threats and their evolution is the only surefire way to be prepared and secure in your online activity. 

With the FBI conceding that financial compliance is the most effective way of saving data, the threat from this malicious attack type is only going to increase. The question is, how prepared are you? 

Did you find this interesting?

Stay tuned to Silobreaker’s blog for an upcoming post exploring the implications of ransomware payment.

If you’d like to find out more about Silobreaker and see it in action you can request a demo here.

The Silobreaker Team

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