On 12 May 2017, the largest ransomware in history, WannaCry, reached its peak. Three years later, this and other ransomware threats are still affecting people and companies. Recent Kaspersky research has revealed that in 2019, WannaCry remained at the top of the most prevalent ransomware families, while almost 30 per cent of those targeted by ransomware were corporate users. On May 12, 2020, Kaspersky and INTERPOL urged organisations to think about backing up their data and adopting relevant protection to avoid any potential ransomware.
Ransomware remains a big challenge and many organisations lost an average of $1.46 million in 2019. The WannaCry attack became the most noticeable of its kind, spreading with the help of an advanced cyber-weapon, EternalBlue, which is a complex and effective exploit used to target the unpatched vulnerability in Windows.
According to Kaspersky’s research, a total of 767,907 users were attacked by encryptors in 2019 – with almost a third of them (30 per cent) being in businesses. Of all the encryption families, WannaCry still was the most common – in 2019, it attacked 164,433 users and accounted for 21 per cent of all detected attacks. With a significant margin, it was followed by other families such as GandCrab (11 per cent) and Stop (four per cent).
“Hospitals were the most vulnerable amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as those attacked have lost access to critical medical equipment and patient information. The INTERPOL Global Cybercrime Programme has supported organisations to recover from the attacks and prevent any further damages. Now, we are working closely with our member countries and private partners, including Kaspersky, to raise public awareness for the mitigation and prevention of cyberthreats by running a global awareness campaign during May 2020. The campaign, which encourages the public to keep good cyber hygiene and to #WashYourCyberHands, focuses on ransomware this week to support Anti-Ransomware Day,” says Craig Jones, Director, INTERPOL Cybercrime Directorate.
For Australian businesses trying to assess their threat exposure, Kaspersky Corporate IT Security Risks Survey show it remains a question of following the money. Based on the survey, the average cost of ransomware attacks that resulted in data breaches are $1.46M and continues to be significant because it pays.
“This highlights a significant blind spot in Australian security
strategies and budgets that is not being addressed. If Australian businesses
don’t start to take the risk of attacks more seriously, the velocity and value
will quickly begin to escalate,” warns Kaspersky ANZ General Manager, Margrith
Organisations are encouraged to take these anti-ransomware measures:
Always update your operating system and software to eliminate recent vulnerabilities.