Insights of Ransomware Attacks in 2016

Insights of Ransomware Attacks in 2016

Despite the fact that Ransomware variants haven’t spared any industry, there are still some that have been infected the most. To begin with, education sector has topped this list, followed by government, health care, energy and utilities, retail, and finance industries in the list.

Recently, a cyber security firm BitSight has analyzed Ransomware attacks by taking around 20,000 companies in account. Its report has clearly revealed, Education sector to have received most Ransomware attacks, with approximately 13% of all attacks being targeted to the said industry. This figure imitates 1 out of 10 organizations to experience Ransomware outbreak lately.

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Apart from this, Government organizations have received 5.9%, Health care 3.5%, Energy & Utilities 3.4%, Retail 3.2% and Finance 1.5% of total attacks. According to US Justice Department, Ransomware strains have bombarded around 4000 attacks each day, since the beginning of 2016. This number indisputably makes ransomware the most menacing threat of the time.

While BitSight had closely examined Ransomware attacks in 2016, they have also come across some more facts about it. We shall summaries all of them for you here.

  • With heaps in malicious attacks, cyber criminals have apparently made this wicked activity their lucrative business.
  • Education industry has fallen prey to Ransomware attacks more than any other.
  •  Attacks over education sector are threefold when compared to healthcare and tenfold more than Finance industry.
  • When it comes Government organizations, which ranks as the second most targeted sector, has the lowest security standards.
  • Over the last 12 months, Ransomware attacks on Government organizations have tripled.
  • While inestimable attacks have befallen, most of them happened to be of Nymaim and Locky Ransomware.
  • On the scale, Finance has been listed as the least attacked industry, yet it was observed that around 115 different Financial Services organizations had Ransomware on their corporate network.

Stealthy Attacks in Education Sector

Though health care is expected to receive rampant attacks as they hold sensitive and valuable data of patients, yet education sector is being targeted the most. Apparently, this outbreak has become massive because K-12 schools and universities have narrow IT security on their systems and low budget involved for the same. In addition to this, employees in this industry also prefer peer-to-peer file sharing over all other mediums, which is a potential gateway for many Ransomware strains.

The research also reported, “The University of Calgary paid a $20,000 ransom earlier this year after malware encrypted the university’s email server.” Further in a press release, university’s vice-president of finance and services, Linda Dalgetty had said, “The expertise of our IT department allowed the university to isolate the effects of the attack and make significant progress towards restoration of the affected portions of our systems,”.

How to avoid these attacks: Expert Advice!

Along with analyzing attacks, BitSight has also given some recommendations to avoid ransomware attack. Follow them below.

  • Establish Email Security Protocols: Phishing campaigns are the easiest way to deploy ransomware. Henceforth, organizations should educate their employees to safely handle their mailbox and report all suspicious activities they come across.
  • Monitor Key Third Parties: Often, companies ensure that they hold tight-knit security for their organization but their third party organizations have found vulnerability in their networks. Sharing data with organizations infected with Ransomware attacks can result in loose of their data as well. To avoid this, Vendor Risk Management teams should identify their third parties and closely observe Ransomware attacks on their systems and network.
  • Track Security Ratings: Organizations to closely examine their security standards and leave no room for any vulnerability.
  • Avoid Peer-to-Peer File Sharing on Networks: Many of the Ransomware variants also attacks via open networks. Organizations should train their employees to not to download any illegal software and undertake safe file sharing via any such network.

With this been said, you should also ensure that all your data is backed up. Even if you have been infected with Ransomware, you’ll not end up paying ransom if your data is secure with offline backup. You can pick up any medium including Google Drive, Dropbox or Ransomware Protector.

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