At Switchfast, ransomware is a major topic of discussion. We’re hyperaware of its explosive growth, its insidious nature, and its devastating effect on small businesses. But with so many articles about the topic and data points to keep track of, it can be hard to truly grasp the impact that this form of attack has made in the business world.
To make sense of this abundance of information, and identify ransomware for what it is, we have compiled a list of key statistics that demonstrate just how important it has become to protect yourself against this threat.
- Ransomware attacks are up 3000% since records began in 2012
- The total number of ransomware incidents in the past year totaled over 7.3 million
- The average ransomware demand has risen from $294 to $627 in the past year
- Between January 2015 and April 2016, the US was the region most affected by ransomware, with 28% of global infections
- The services sector was hit hardest this year, with 38% of organizational infections. Manufacturing claimed 17%, and finance, insurance, real estate, and public administration combined for an additional 20%.
- 76% of ransomware comes from spam; at the end of March, 93% of all phishing emails contained encryption ransomware
- A single ransomware developer collected $121 million in the first half of 2016
- The healthcare sector has come under threat, with the industry experiencing over 20 data loss incidents per day and paying out nearly $100,000 this year
- Ransomware infects 30,000 to 35,000 devices per month, on average. In March 2016, 56,000 devices were infected
- Last year, one out of 10 users in the U.S. who encountered malware found it in the form of mobile ransomware, double the proportion from 2014
Why is ransomware becoming so popular? Because it works.
It is much easier to make a profit when the users themselves have to pay, so that the developer doesn’t have to find a third party buyer for the data. After all, who cares most about your data? You! And because the ransom is often “just” a few hundred, maybe a thousand dollars, it feels like a small price to pay to get your businesses back online, so you won’t seek alternative ways to get your data back.
Ransomware infects computers through a variety of means, such as email attachments or malicious links. The process often involves some form of social engineering, as criminals target specific individuals they believe to be weak points, and manipulate these people into giving up information or opening infectious programs.
Luckily, because the vast majority of ransomware depends on the user to take some action, you can protect yourself and your business by establishing some company-wide guidelines for handling unknown emails, attachments, and links. With some practice, you can develop not just the skills, but the habits that keep you safe from this growing threat.
To get started, download our free guide to protecting your guide from cybercriminals.
Written by Luke Robbins