Ransomware in 2018: What to Expect?

In the ever-growing digital world that we live in, security risks and cyber-attacks are becoming bigger, more common and more lethal. In 2017 we saw a lot of news of big cyber-attacks, data breaches and potential new threats being discovered with alarming regularity.

Many are wondering what we can expect in 2018 when it comes to cyber security. Many will also say that you cannot anticipate things that will happen in this domain, however, many voices have expressed their concerns about ransomware risks in 2017 and they turned out to be quite true.

We now know as a fact that ransomware was the most popular method that cyber criminals liked using in the last 10 years. During the first couple of months of 2017 the number of ransomware attacks have grown by over 200% and there have been reports of many big attacks. Throughout the whole year, the number of these attacks just continued to grow.

There are several trends that have affected the growth of these attacks. First of all, bitcoin has been adopted as the most common payment method for ransomware attacks and this is why AI has been deployed to help with this problem. This is not just a problem with malware, but with an entire criminal method.

John Chambers, Cisco CEO has once stated that there are two groups of companies out there: companies that were hacked and companies that still don’t know that they were hacked. This statement has never been more accurate than in 2017.

However, this is not only a problem for business organizations as PC users at home also need to be careful. All of their assets, including videos, photos, documents, games, professional and personal documents are potential targets. Being extorted for these assets is a reality and people need to prepare themselves for 2018 and know what to expect.

Sadly, the trend of these attacks is only going to be continued in 2018. However, brand new technology solutions have been deployed that will help potential victims protect themselves in the cyber-jungle. This form of cybercrime has existed for many years, but hackers have perfected it in the past three years. The number of malware families has exploded and this is why it’s more effective than ever, even though it’s a very old method.

Criminals have stolen a lot of money with ransomware and chances are that they aren’t going to give it up. Media outlets have reported that the global damage of these attacks is around $5 billion, while the average number of how much office workers pay for ransomware is around $1,500.

Predicting the future of ransomware is difficult, as there are many new technological changes that greatly affect how the whole digital world looks and alongside it, internet security as well. Additionally, the social changes brought on by the internet have made people more targetable. For hackers it’s easier than ever to distribute malicious software and target different devices and this trend keeps growing exponentially.

This is a big problem that has grown over time and has become a force that threatens individuals as well as business organizations. There are many DIY attacks, forcing people to make electronic payments which remain anonymous and authorities might be missing a lot of relevant information.

During 2017 over half of the ransomware was delivered through email while in 2016 it was around 25% as then the biggest trend was to deliver it using attachments which are malicious. Some other methods include links leading to rogue sites, clickbait advertisements and downloads.

The whole thing is built on familiar principles – a hacker will steal something from a person, something valuable to them, and ask for an anonymous payment if they want their assets back. The most common type of attack is where a hacker will encrypt some valuable information and ask the victim for money if they want to get the encryption key. However, a payment doesn’t guarantee anything and the victims are placed in a very bad position.

This type of cyber-crime is not expected to slow down in 2018, especially when hackers have had so much success in 2017, some might say the biggest success since this method of online theft was developed. This is why individuals and businesses alike need to take measures and protect themselves as best as they possibly can, to avoid becoming victims of ransomware.