Is Ransomware Becoming an Epidemic?

By Samuel Greengard
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    Is Ransomware Becoming an Epidemic?

    Is Ransomware Becoming an Epidemic?

    A growing number of organizations have been infected by ransomware attacks, which can block access to a browser or device, or can encrypt and lock files.

News reports about growing waves of ransomware and organizations that have been infected by it are chilling. Over the last few years, companies—staring down the barrel of encrypted and inaccessible files, and an inability to conduct normal business—have been coerced into coughing up multimillion dollar sums in order to regain control of critical data. A new report from security firm Kaspersky Security Network (KSN), "Ransomware Research Report," offers some interesting, if disturbing, insights into how the space is evolving and how organizations are at risk. The report points out that the attacks are becoming more frequent, and a larger swath of organizations are encountering these malicious methods, which typically take the form of pop-ups that block access to a browser or device, or a download that encrypts and locks files. In fact, the report goes so far as to describe ransomware as an "epidemic," but it also points out that organizations can protect their assets without paying off the cyber-criminals. When victims do pay, it "brings a lot of money into the underground ecosystem that has grown up around this malware, and, as a result, we are seeing new cryptors appear almost daily," warns Fedor Sinitsyn, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

This article was originally published on 2016-08-08
Samuel Greengard writes about business and technology for Baseline, CIO Insight and other publications. His most recent book is The Internet of Things (MIT Press, 2015).
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