1 ransomware attack every 40 seconds

In 2016 ransomware attacks on business increased three-fold: which represents a change from an attack every 2 minutes in January to one every 40 seconds by October.  For individuals the rate of increase went from every 20 seconds to every 10 seconds.

With more than 62 new families of ransomware introduced during the year, the threat grew so aggressively that Kaspersky Lab has named ransomware its key topic for 2016.

Recently, the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team (SingCert) announced that there has been a noticeable rise in ransomware infections in Singapore from 2 reported cases in 2015 to 17 cases just in the first eight months of 2016. One of the most common ways is through phishing emails that contain malicious attachments or links.

The Story of the Year paper forms part of Kaspersky Lab’s annual Kaspersky Security Bulletin that looks back over the year’s major threats and data and predicts what to expect in 2017.

Among other things, 2016 revealed the extent to which the Ransomware-as-a-Service business model now appeals to criminals who lack the skills, resources or inclination to develop their own. Under the arrangement, code creators offer their malicious product ‘on demand’, selling uniquely modified versions to customers who then distribute it through spam and websites, paying a commission to the creator – the main financial beneficiary.

“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,” said FedorSinitsyn, Senior Malware Analyst, Kaspersky Lab.

The Evolution of Ransomware in 2016

In 2016, ransomware continued its rampage across the world, becoming more sophisticated and diverse and tightening its hold on data and devices, individuals and businesses.

Attacks on businesses increased significantly. According to Kaspersky Lab research, one in every five businesses worldwide suffered an IT security incident as a result of a ransomware attack and one in every five smaller business never got their files back, even after paying.

Some industry sectors were harder hit than others, but our research shows there is no such thing as a low-risk sector: with the highest rate of attack around 23% (Education) and the lowest 16% (Retail and Leisure).