The number of people who reported encounters with ransomware worldwide in the past year rose from 2.3 million to nearly 2.6 million—an 11.4% increase, according to a report released Monday from Kaspersky Lab.
Mobile ransomware, in particular, continues to be a concern, with 218,625 mobile Trojan-Ransomware installation packages detected in the first quarter of 2017 alone—3.5 times more than the previous quarter, the report found. However, the total number of users targeted by mobile ransomware fell by 4.6% between this year and last year, the report noted.
Kaspersky Lab examined security data from April 2016 to March 2017 and compared it with data gathered the previous year. And these attacks are most common in wealthy countries, with the US experiencing the highest percentage of mobile users attacked with mobile ransomware, followed by Canada, Germany, and the UK.
"Despite a small reprieve, the mobile threat landscape is still arousing anxiety, as criminals target nations with developed financial and payment infrastructures," according to a press release announcing the report. "Developed markets not only have a higher level of income, but also more advanced and widely used mobile and e-payment systems that can be easily compromised."
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In the US, the rise of mobile attacks came primarily from the Svpeng and Fusob malware families, the report noted. Germany was the country with the highest percentage of mobile users attacked the year before, but the US shifted from fourth to first position this year, with almost 19% of users attacked.
"These geographical changes in the mobile ransomware landscape could be a sign of the trend to spread attacks to rich, unprepared, vulnerable or yet unreached regions," said Roman Unuchek, security expert at Kaspersky Lab, in a press release. "This obviously means that users, especially in these countries, should be extremely cautious when surfing the web."
Kaspersky Lab offered the following seven tips to combat ransomware:
1. Back up data regularly, and always keep software updated on all devices.
2. Use a reliable security solution that protects against ransomware.
3. Treat email attachments, or messages from people you don't know, with caution. If in doubt, don't open it.
4. If you fall victim to an encryptor, use a clean system to check the No More Ransom site for a decryption tool that could help get your files back.
5. Educate employees and IT teams; keep sensitive data separate; restrict access; and backup everything, always.
6. Download Kaspersky Lab's free anti-ransomware tool for your business, regardless of the security solution installed.
7. Report any ransomware attack to your local law enforcement agency, as these attacks are criminal offenses.
- How to avoid ransomware attacks: 10 tips (TechRepublic)
- Why ransomware is exploding, and how your company can protect itself (ZDNet)
- Cybersecurity: Two-thirds of CIOs say threats increasing, cite growth of ransomware (TechRepublic)
- Report: Mobile ransomware attacks 'soared' in 2017, up 250% in Q1 (TechRepublic)
- WannaCry: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
- Ransomware: The smart person's guide (TechRepublic)
Alison DeNisco Rayome has nothing to disclose. She does not hold investments in the technology companies she covers.
Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.