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Case Studies

Ransomware in 2016

In 2016, ransomware attacks on business increased three-fold: which represents a change from an attack every two minutes in January to one every 40 seconds by October.

For individuals, the rate of increase went from every 20 seconds to every ten seconds. With more than 62 new families of ransomware introduced during the year, the threat grew so aggressively that the IT security product company Kaspersky Lab has named ransomware its key topic for 2016.

Fedor Sinitsyn, Senior Malware Analyst at Kaspersky Lab, said: “The classic ‘affiliate’ business model appears to be working as effectively for ransomware as it does for other types of malware. Victims often pay up so money keeps flowing through the system. Inevitably this has led to us seeing new cryptors appear almost daily.”

According to the IT security firm, some industry sectors were harder hit than others, but the firm suggests there is no such thing as a low-risk sector: with the highest rate of attack around 23 per cent (Education) and the lowest 16 per cent (Retail and Leisure). The ransomware Shade demonstrated ability to change its approach to a victim if an infected computer turned out to belong to financial services, downloading and installing spyware instead of encrypting the victim’s files. The researchers found a marked rise in low-quality; unsophisticated ransomware Trojans with software flaws and sloppy errors in the ransom notes – increasing the likelihood of victims never recovering their data.

The full text of the report “Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2016 – Story of the Year: The Ransomware Revolution” is available on the Securelist website. It also includes advice on how to stay safe and why not to pay the ransom.

More on the No More Ransom project at


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