Tech

Ransomware: The Most Damaging Cyber Security Threat Yet?

By Bien R. Gruba III , Sep 22, 2016 03:05 PM EDT

Cyber tech experts have warned people about "Ransomware," a type of malware that secretly installs on a person's computer. It will lock the device's system then will display a message on the screen demanding a ransom payment before the computer is allowed to return to normal.

According to Symantec, a cyber security firm, "Ransomware" is the most dangerous cyber threat in the world today Whether organizations or individuals, the global losses due to Ransomware run by the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Ritesh Chopra, India country manager of Norton by Symantec, said: "Ransomware can vary from holding treasured family photos, hijacking unfinished manuscripts for novels, and blocking access to tax returns, banking records and other valuable documents to ransom. Moreover, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will release those padlocks."

The report said that the proliferation of "the Internet of Things (IoT)" has multiplied the number of devices that could potentially be hit by ransomware.

Symantec has found out that ordinary consumers are the most likely target victims of ransomware because of their lack of sufficient cyber security software.

On a country by country basis, between January 2015 and April 2016, the U.S., Canada, Australia and India were top four countries most affected by ransomware.

Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of cybersecurity company Malwarebytes, said, "In the last six to 12 months, this has just gone so aggressively to the business environment. We see companies from 25 people all the way to 250,000 people getting hit with ransomware."

The comments of Symantec and Malwarebytes are confirmed by Kaspersky Lab. According to the tech firm, this summer alone the number of ransomware victims attacked has grown frighteningly fast -- up from 131,000 in 2014-2015 to 718,000 in 2015-2016.

David S. Kris, former assistant attorney general at the U.S. Department of Justice's national-security division, believes that in order to effectively take down ransomware, governments must take action against cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin that are often used by hackers as payment for deploying their skills in ransomware attacks.

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