Ransomware modifications double in Q2 2019 year-on-year: Report

WannaCry remains the most prolific ransomware, despite Microsoft patching vulnerabilities it exploits two years ago. (File photo: Reuters)

Cybersecurity company Kaspersky announced that it had detected 16,017 new ransomware modifications and eight new malware families in Q2 2019, more than double the number of new samples detected in Q2 2018.

A trojan-ransom is a cyberattack wherein the user’s files are encrypted and a ransom is demanded for their release. These attacks have been successful on both individuals and corporates.

Kaspersky stated that the increase in malicious modifications and appearance of new families is a sign that the level of criminal activity is increasing.

The ransomware family that attacked most often in Q2 2019 remains the notorious WannaCry software with 23.4 percent of cases. This is despite Microsoft releasing an update for its operating system to close the vulnerability that WannaCry exploits.

GandCrab was another major actor with a 13.8 percent share. Fedor Sinitsyn, a security researcher at Kaspersky said, “In this quarter we observed an increase in the number of new ransomware modifications, even though the GandCrab family closed down in early June. The GandCrab ransomware family has long been one of the most popular cryptors amongst cybercriminals.”

“The GandCrab case is a good illustration of how effective ransomware can be, with its creators stopping their malicious activity after claiming they made a tremendous amount of money by extorting funds from their victims. We expect new actors to replace GandCrab and urge everyone to protect their devices by installing software updates regularly and choosing a reliable security solution,” added Sinitsyn.

Users are encouraged to update their operating system and backup their files to combat malware attacks. Furthermore, Kaspersky said that users should not pay the ransom if their files are encrypted as this encourages cybercriminals to continue infecting more devices.

Last Update: Wednesday, 21 August 2019 KSA 16:04 - GMT 13:04