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Ransomware becoming the security issue of the summer

Security resellers will be all too aware of the rise in ransomware as more of their customers report being victims of attacks


Ransomware is an issue that is climbing up the awareness charts as the channel finds more customers are being hit by the problem.

Over the past year the number of cases has risen and the occassional ancedotal example of ransomware and Bitcoin payouts has become much more common.

Already those security vendors that have the ability to combat ransomware have started to speak more loudly about their abilities around an area that was previously part of a wider solution but rarely the main selling point.

No wonder they are starting to, given the continued rise in ransonware levels. Several vendors have shared findings of research this week that reveals the rise in the problem.

"Ransomware is evolving at dangerously fast speeds and is now recognised as a very real threat to organisations of all sizes. The emerging malware is no longer infiltrating one computer at a time; it’s threatening to take entire businesses offline for extended periods of time," said Richard Walters, svp security products at Intermedia.

"Now more than ever, companies need to prepare for a ransomware attack by implementing fully-baked business continuity plans that incorporate off-site, real–time cloud backups. This ensures file archives can’t be deleted and employees can access clean versions of the files on another device," he added.

Walters was reacting to findings from Malwarebytes, which found that nearly 40% of enterprises had been victims in the last year.

“Over the last four years, ransomware has evolved into one of the biggest cyber security threats in the wild, with instances of ransomware in exploit kits increasing 259% in the last five months alone. The impact on businesses around the world has been significant,” said Nathan Scott, technical project manager at Malwarebytes.
The study showed that the problem was worse in the UK, with 54% of senior IT staff reporting they were victims last year.

Just shy of 60% of those hit also paid out and British firms were losing more money to criminals compared to some other countries.

Fortinet has also contributed to the debate and in its FortiGuard Labs cyber threat landscape global report it had a few things to say about ransomware, which it described as being one of the fastest growing problems.

CyberArk has also been monitoring the situation and expressed concerns at the growth rate of ransomware problems.

“Ransomware has emerged as a credible and opportunistic tactic for attackers, leaving infected organisations with the difficult choice of abandoning hijacked data or paying cybercriminals for the chance to retrieve their files,” said Chen Bitan, general manager, EMEA & APJ, CyberArk.

“By analysing how ransomware typically behaves, we’ve been able to gain critical insight into how to help protect against these attacks. Moving beyond traditional anti-virus solutions, which are not effective in blocking ransomware, and adopting a proactive approach to endpoint and server security is an important step in protecting against this fast-moving and morphing malware.”

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That is very unfortunate, but as long as there are vulnerabilities, there will be people out there who will exploit them. I don't see this problem subsiding any time soon.
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The biggest reason this is so successful is that number of computers users that back up their personal data is so small. I'm the only one in my family. Every computer in my house backed up regularly. In-laws, sisters, parents and most of my friends... none of them back up.
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The hacking never seems to stop. And our industry hasn't been very good at resolving the problem. OTOH, the pain of ransomware can be (somewhat) obviated by serious paranoia and regular backups. We no longer open emails or attachments or programs or photos or graphs or anything from contacts we don't know. We use our limited time contacting anyone who sends material we're not expecting. It's far from a perfect solution, but we haven't been hit. Yet. 
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