Facts and Figures you should know about Ransomware

Even as cyber security specialists work tirelessly towards containing the Ransomware menace – which has sort of gained a pandemic proportions this year – there doesn’t seem to be any permanent respite from the ever-evolving strain of malware.

The reason is simple enough. Every time a decryption key is created to retrieve infected files, Ransomware authors change key string codes and boom, you’ve got a new Ransomware lurking around freely on the Net. It’s like Hydra. Chop off one head and another one grows. Only Hydra could regrow at the most 100 times. No one knows how many ‘heads’ a particular strain of Ransomware has. For instance, Odin is the latest version of the Locky/Zepto Ransomware strain.

It already looks like the menace will intensify in 2017. According to a recent Tech Republic article…

“This year companies were rocked by over 90 million cyberattacks. In 2017 the number could double. Cybersecurity expert Sameer Dixit explains how new innovation leads to increased vulnerability.”

The article further states…

“The economic damage caused by cybercrime is massive and quantifiable. In 2016 companies and individuals will be hit by 90 million attacks. That’s 400 raids every minute. Nearly 70% of of these attacks will go unnoticed, yet the fallout is massive. Hacking costs companies $15.4 million per attack, according to Sameer Dixit, Senior Director of Security Consulting at cybersecurity firm Spirent.

It’s obvious that the incentive to hack is financial gains more often than not. There’s a huge underground market that deals in lost and/or stolen data. Ransomware attacks give impetus to this illicit market. Technological advancements like Internet of Things (IoT) adds to the equation.

Learn more about Internet of Things

Now the question is, how susceptible are you to Ransomware attacks?

If you are a part of any one of the following industries, you probably should be more careful than the average person surfing the Net.

A BitSight report surveyed and analyzed Ransomware trends across 20,000 companies to understand and diagnose which industries/sectors are more prone to such attacks. The report tipped Education, Government, and Healthcare to be at maximum risk. Here are the stats for you.

Industry/Sector         Percentage of Ransomware attacks
Education                   13%
Government               6%
Healthcare                  3.5

Interestingly, Financial companies held the lowest risk at 1.5%. The report further states a rather alarming fact regarding the Education sector: rate of security has reduced by as much as 15% in 2016 from 2015! In June, the University of Calgary had to pay $20,000 CDN ransom after an attack encrypted its email system. This brings us to some more frightening statistics from various reports and surveys.

  • Email accounts for 46% of all Ransomware attacks.
  • 40% of businesses have recorded at least one Ransomware threat last year
  • Of these, 20% had to stop business completely.
  • About 60% of all ransomware attacks demanded over $1,000.
  • Over 20% of attacks asked for more than $10,000, 1% even asked for over $150,000.
  • 71% of those surveyed believed protection – i.e. backup – is the most effective way to tackle the problem.

Thus, as we have stressed earlier, the only permanent solution – if you can call it one – is to create a backup for your entire data file archive.

For more updates and information on Ransomware, watch this space.

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