Ransomware Rates Increased in 2016


Reports showed that malware rates decreased in 2016, while ransomware became incredibly prolific

On Tuesday, it was released a report on global cyberthreats in 2016. It showed that the malware percentages decreased, but the number of ransomware attacks reached an alarming rate. The number increased 167 times since 2015.

However, ransomware was not the only cyber attack that shook 2016. Statistics show that large number of DDoS attack occurred via internet. The main case of such an attack took place in October, when Mirai botnet attacked several IoT devices which were unprotected. This ended up in a DDoS attack on Dyn servers.

The report was issued by the security company SonicWall, after analyzing data gathered from daily network feeds that they had received from over 1 million sensors in 200 countries.

SonicWall discovered that, during 2016, malware fell to 60 million samples, as compared to 64 million samples in 2015. This represents a decrease of 6.25 percent. The total number of malware attempts also fell, from 8.19 billion to 7.87 billion. This is a 4 percent decrease.

Unfortunately, the rates of RaaS (ransomware-as-a-service) worryingly rose. Raas implies cybercriminals who offer ransomware as a service to others. Ransomware blocks access to computers until a ransom is paid. This service can benefit the bad guys, but also the regular cybercrooks that are hired by these bad guys to perform the dirty services.

As mentioned earlier, the ransomware rates showed a worrying increase. While in 2015 the ransomware attacks scored about 3.8 million, they increased 167 times in 2016 and reached 638 million. This happened since ransomware became more accessible in 2016 and cybercriminals found it easier to escape and avoid getting caught.

SonicWall stated that ransomware was the main object used by malicious exploits and email campaigns in 2016. Locky was a well-known malicious email campaign that spared no industry of ransomware. More than 500 million attacks targeted the industrial engineering industry, pharmaceuticals, and, among others, financial services.

Mirai botnet sent 70 percent of their DDoS attacks to the U.S., while Brazil and India where the other targeted countries, but with much smaller percentages.

Although the cyberthreat field evolved during the last years, the methods against them also proved innovative. For example, in-store payments performed with chip cards significantly reduced the rates of malware attacks performed at physical stores.
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