We are already at the final reaches of the year and ransomware attacks are still proliferating. Earlier, we reported about the growth of Ransomware until mid of the year. We are here again with another report on rise in recent ransomware attacks in 2016.
One of the recent report by BigSight reported 6 industries to have got infected with Ransomware the most. It mentioned education sector followed by government, health care, energy and utilities, retail and finance industries in the list. Yet we have another report by Beazley stating, “During the first nine months of 2016, Beazley’s BBR Services division managed 1,437 data breaches on behalf of clients, compared to 931 breaches during the same period last year.” It cited financial service, retail and hospitality as the major targets of Ransomware crooks, with an average of $1000 ransom.
Beazley summaries recent ransomware attacks and data breach trends as below:
- 2016 has 400% more ransomware breaches than 2015 with approximately 52 clients to have suffered ransomware attacks specifically in the months of July and August. In comparison to this, 2015 has 43 clients around the same time.
- Beazley observed data breach and hacking across its portfolio to have remained same over the previous year with 31% and 32% in 2016 and 2015 respectively.
- Financial institutions have faced a notch high on breaches utilizing hacking and malware. There has been an increase from 26% to 39% from the previous year.
- Educational institutes saw an increase from 38% to 46% in first nine months of 2015 and same time span of 2016.
- As far as hospitals are concerned, they have seen a rise of 18% from the first three quarters of 2015. This is connected to the large amount of information shared between organizations in this industry. 19% of healthcare breaches were caused by hacking or malware in 2016, down from 28% in 2015.
- Retail industry continued to see high on ransomware attacks. It accounted to 53% in the current year and 51% in the previous.
No More Ransomware Initiative
While this has been one side of the coin, the other side illustrates hard-hitting efforts by security researchers against ransomware. They are continually making efforts to reduce the rage of recent ransomware attacks. A joint operation called ‘No More Ransom’ has come up with a tool called Crypto Sherriff to help infected users decrypt their encrypted files. It can decrypt files encrypted by Teslacrypt, Chimera, WildFire, CoinVault and Rakhni.
No More Ransom claims to have over 2,500 people to use their tool, in the first two months of its operations. This populace is reported to have opted for tool instead of paying ransom. The project estimates a total of $ 1 million losses to hackers and this is only expected to grow.
Jornt van der Wiel, a security researcher at Kaspersky Lab added, “Getting more law enforcement agencies from different countries on board will therefore improve operational information-sharing, so that in the end ransomware will be fought more effectively,”.
Our Call on Ransomware Attacks
Despite employing strong strategies against ransomware and developing tools against several ransomware variants, there hasn’t been any foolproof tool or decryption key to fight back with this threat. The one developed by No More Ransom decrypts files encrypted by a few ransomware strains. These include versions of Teslacrypt, Chimera, WildFire, CoinVault and Rakhni.
As these are just a handful of ransomware that could infect your system, we highly recommend users to be on guard against hackers or online frauds. Below mentioned points will help you as a guide against ransomware.
Update your installed software on a regular basis.
- Proactively protect your mailbox and avoid sharing personal details online.
- Use authentic ad block extensions to block malicious advertisement on your browser.
- Keep security standards high for yourself. Use authentic firewall, anti-malware, anti-virus, anti-ransomware, anti-exploit tools.
- Regularly backup your data on cloud security. Right Backup is an application which helps you upload your data on the cloud storage. It can help you have sound data backup on Windows, Mac and Android. It also makes it easy to transfer files among the devices and to access the data anywhere with the cloud account.
With these initiatives, you can contribute in reducing the ongoing ransomware rage and its intensity, along with all security researchers. A regular practice of these will also help keep other online threats at bay.