Sophos report highlights robust nature of ransomware

According to the security firm, two strains of ransomware were responsible for 89.5% of all attacks intercepted on Sophos customer computers globally

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Sophos report highlights robust nature of ransomware Dorka Palotay, SophosLabs security researcher and contributor to the SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast.
By  Alexander Sophoclis Pieri Published  November 13, 2017

Network and endpoint security specialist Sophos has released the latest iteration of its annual malware forecast report.

Key findings from the SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast, which was undertaken from 1 April to the 3 October, 2017, showed that while ransomware attacks were focused predominately on Windows systems in the last six months, Android, Linux and MacOS platforms were not excluded.

Striking the global market back in May 2017, WannaCry became the number one ransomware according to Sophos' report, dethroning Cerber, which was unleashed back in 2016. Sophos found that WannaCry accounted for 45.3% of all ransomware tracked by their customers, while Cerber accounted for 44.2%.

Dorka Palotay, SophosLabs security researcher and contributor to the SophosLabs 2018 Malware Forecast, shared: "For the first time we saw ransomware with worm-like characteristics, which contributed to the rapid expansion of WannaCry. This ransomware took advantage of a known Windows vulnerability to infect and spread to computers, making it hard to control.

"Even though our customers are protected against it and WannaCry has tapered off, we still see the threat because of its inherent nature to keep scanning and attacking computers. We're expecting cyber criminals to build upon this ability to replicate seen in WannaCry and NotPetya, and this is already evident with Bad Rabbit ransomware, which shows many similarities to NotPetya."

Sophos' report went on to highlight the type of threats afflicting other operating systems, which included Android ransomware. The company noted two types of attack methods, which includes locking the phone without encrypting data, and locking the phone while encrypting data. In either case, cybercriminals prey on the victim's frustration and inability to access their phone and data.

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