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Ransomware attacks increased by 1000 per cent in 2017

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Ransomware is alarmingly on the rise in the Asia Pacific with a report revealing a 1000 per cent increase in detections in 2017 and with no signs of slowing down in 2018.

The Malwarebytes Global State of Malware Report has detailed the methods of attack and the changing development and distribution techniques used by cyber criminals.

The report also revealed a 1000 per cent rise in ransomware in our region, including Australia, which had not been a major target until 2017.

“It’s clear that cybercriminals are becoming more strategic as they pick the most effective form of attack,” Jeff Hurmuses, Area Vice President and Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Malwarebytes said.

“While Asia Pacific hasn’t been a major target in the past, the data we are seeing leads us to believe that ransomware, worms, and spyware attacks will become a major threat in the region.

“It’s crucial that companies, particularly in the healthcare and education sectors, stay ahead of these threats, familiarise themselves with cybercriminals’ methodologies and tactics, and replace their outdated security systems before they become a victim of an attack.”

Companies and individuals have been warned to stay vigilant and replace their outdated security systems and software.

The biggest global ransomware attacks in 2017 included WannaCry, GlobelImposter and Cerber which all contributed significantly to the massive spike in ransomware cases.

Key findings from the 2017 global report include:

  • Ransomware was tool of choice for cybercriminals in 2017
    • Ransomware against consumers increased 93% while ransomware against businesses is up 90%.
    • The monthly rate of ransomware attacks increased up to 10 times the rate of 2016, with September 2017 having the largest volume of ransomware attacks against businesses ever documented.
  • What cybercriminals can’t hold for ransom, they will steal
    • Hijackers, adware and riskware tools top 3 detections against businesses (in order)
    • The second half of the year marked an average of 102% increase in banking Trojan detections.
    • Hijackers rose nearly 40% year over year, moving this threat to the most common threat detected against businesses in 2017.
  • Increase in the malicious use of crypto-miners
    • Alongside a sudden cryptocurrency craze, bad actors have started utilising cryptomining tools for their own profit, using victim’s personal computers in the process. This includes a significant increase of miners through compromised websites, malicious spam, exploit kit drops and adware bundlers.
    • Malwarebytes blocked an average of 8 million drive-by mining attempts per day in September 2017.