News broke today of a Google study that indicated ransomware attacks have increased, and are likely to continue to do so, with cybercriminals realising how lucrative the business is. The research also found out that cyber-thieves have made at least $25m (£19m) from ransomware in the last two years. IT security experts commented below.
Andrew Clarke, EMEA Director at One Identity:
“It is no surprise to read that the Google and New York University research, which effectively created a honey-pot to measure real-world activity associated with ransomware, revealed a sophisticated set of payment techniques. Criminals that appear to have switched their focus to this method of extortion have access to easy-to-use tools through “ransomware-as-a-service” offerings – which means that they can mass target communities very quickly.
“Although the recent wave we read about, Wannacry and NotPetya did not generate much income – there are so many other variants emerging that it is still a worthwhile business for them to persue with an overall multi-million payout. Companies can mitigate the risk involved by ensuring that their systems are fully patched, regularly backed up and protected by network firewalls blocking malicious communication ports. They can ensure that their users receive regular updates to prepare them for the various techniques employed by cyber criminals. And they can manage their user population by having a solid provisioning/de-provisioning tool to ensure that only the right people have access to the right systems at the right time.”
Jim Walter, Senior Research Scientist at Cylance:
“This is not a ‘new’ revelation, but I think they do a really good job of evidence collection and analysis to support the findings. As Cylance researchers have stated before, with the far lower barrier of entry for the more sophisticated families (a.k.a Cerber) and the ultra-ease at which one can produce malware via any of the current RaaS (Ransomware as a Service) offerings, anyone can spin up a campaign with essentially no ramp-up time, no prior experience, and no coding knowledge.”