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Ransomware back on the rise

Security specialists need to remain focused on dealing with a problem that has made an unwelcome return to growth in the UK

Ransomware has made an unwelcome return to dominate the threat landscape in the UK after the threat had been pushed into retreat last year.

In 2018 ransomware activity declined by 59% in the UK and security resellers gave themselves a pat on the back for having helped get the message across to customers about the need to defend against that type of attack. But a few months is a long time in the cyber security world and the problem has come storming back with a vengeance.

According to the latest SonicWall Cyber Threat Report there has been a 195% surge in the first half of the year. This was largely driven by criminals using Ransomware as a Service and open-source malware kits.

The vendor also charted a number of other issues having an impact in the first half with encrypted threats and crytojacking, along with increases in IoT malware attacks keeping those protecting data concerned.

“Organizations continue to struggle to track the evolving patterns of cyberattacks — the shift to malware cocktails and evolving threat vectors — which makes it extremely difficult for them to defend themselves,” said SonicWall president and CEO Bill Conner.

He added that it was not just a question of keeping the guard up against existing problems like ransomware but making sure emerging threats could be countered.

“In the first half of 2019, SonicWall Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI) technology unveiled 74,360 ‘never-before-seen’ malware variants. To be effective, companies must harness innovative technology, such as machine learning, to be proactive against constantly-changing attack strategies," he added.

The consequences for those that fail to keep the criminals out are getting more serious. Earlier this week IBM released its Cost of a Data Breach Report, which found that the average financial impact of a breach has continued to rise and it can take more than 200 days to find a problem and a further 70 odd to contain it.

"Cybercrime represents big money for cybercriminals, and unfortunately that equates to significant losses for businesses," said Wendi Whitmore, global lead for IBM X-Force Incident Response and Intelligence Services. "With organizations facing the loss or theft of over 11.7 billion records in the past 3 years alone, companies need to be aware of the full financial impact that a data breach can have on their bottom line –and focus on how they can reduce these costs."

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