In today’s digital world, cyberattacks are becoming increasingly prevalent. 2017 was dominated by news of major hacks, cybersecurity threats and data breaches. What will 2018 have in store? Many predicted that 2017 would be the year of ransomware and that was indeed true.
As a matter of fact, we can say ransomware became the most popular tool in the cybercriminals box in the last decade. Ransomware attacks increased over 250% in the first few months of 2017, and they continued and still continue to rise.
The problem of ransomware incorporates several trends. Bitcoin has become the most widely used payment system in ransomware cases and artificial intelligence (AI) is now being mobilized in the fight against it. After all, ransomware is not only a “malware problem” – it’s a criminal business model!
From the business side, it’s war! “There are two types of companies: those that have been hacked, and those who don’t know they have been hacked,” CEO of Cisco John Chambers once said to the press, and that has never been truer than in 2017.
As a home PC user, you should also be very alert. After all, your files – including photos, videos, audios, e-books, music, games, poetry, and all types of personal and professional documents – are usually priceless for you. How can you get protected against cyber extortion? Can you really? Will the risk be higher in 2018?
Going into 2018, we can expect to see more breaches, hacks and attacks. But at the same time, cutting-edge technologies will be deployed as new forms of resistance in the never-ending battle that’s waged in cyberspace. Ransomware has existed in various forms for decades, but in the last three years criminals have perfected the key components of these attacks. This has led to an explosion of new malware families, which make the technique work, and drawn new actors into participating in these lucrative schemes.
Too much money is being made from ransomware for it to disappear – it won’t. According to media sources, global ransomware damage costs for 2017 will exceed US$ 5 billion, with the average amount paid in ransom among office workers around US$ 1,400.
Forecasting the future of ransomware is problematic, rapid technological advances are changing the face of internet security and dynamic social change is influencing our behavior on it. It has never been easier for hackers to distribute ransomware, nor so many devices for them to target – a trend that is going to grow exponentially.
Ransomware is a problem on the march, not a new phenomenon, but one with a burgeoning reputation as a formidable business and personal threat. Do-It-Yourself (DIY) ransomware attacks are abundant and fruitful, harnessing anonymous electronic payments they can remain under the radar from the authorities.
Almost 60% of ransomware was distributed by email in 2017, a 28% growth on 2016, typically through malicious attachments. Other infection strategies including malicious links to rogue websites, drive by downloads and clickbait malvertisements.
The premise of ransomware is simple. The attacker finds a way to take something of yours, and demands payment for its return. Encrypting ransomware, the most common type, takes away access to your important documents by replacing them with encrypted copies. Pay the ransom and you get the key to decrypt those documents (you hope).
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