Ransomware Costs Enterprises $209M In 1H 2016

New report from Trend Micro shows the addition of ransomware families in first half of the year nearly doubled numbers for new families found in all of 2015.

With the first half of the year left in the dust, cyberattack tally counts are starting to trickle in and, to the surprise of no one, ransomware statistics are dominating the limelight. On the docket today is a new 2016 mid-year report from researchers with Trend Micro who say that more new ransomware families emerged in the first half of 2016 than in all of 2015.

The report shows that the occurrence of ransomware families has almost doubled over last year’s numbers. The additional 79 new families added this year combined with all of the old variants has cost enterprises $209 million in monetary losses this year so far, the report says. 

“Ransomware is capable of crippling organizations who face it, and the cybercriminals spearheading these attacks are creatively evolving on a continuous basis to keep enterprises guessing,” said Raimund Genes, chief technology officer for Trend Micro. “It has dominated the threat landscape so far in 2016, causing immense losses to businesses across multiple industries.”

In spite of a drop in the incidence of the wildly popular Angler exploit kit during second quarter–likely caused by law enforcement actions that saw the arrest of 50 cybercriminals in the UK and Russia–other exploit kits have filled in the criminal demand and kept up the breakneck pace at which ransomware is delivered. For example, Neutrino, Magnitude, and Rig continued to deliver ransomware in 2016 and bolstered the types of families it spread around, while the Hunter and Sundown kits began delivering ransomware for the first time this year.

Trend Micro detected almost 80 million ransomware threats targeting its customer base, with about 58% of those delivered through spammed email, while 40% were downloads from URLs hosting ransomware or from exploit kits leading to ransomware. 

While ransomware is often seen as a small- to midsized business or individual user problem, Trend Micro warns that the first half of 2016 also sparked a rise in ransomware built with the express purpose of attacking enterprise systems.

The report named more than half a dozen new variants of ransomware designed to go after larger business targets. This includes CRYPSAM, which infects unpatched servers through a Java-based application flaw, and CRYPRADAM AND KIMCIL, which targets files related to website hosting. Among business-related files encrypted by known ransomware families, 52% are database-related files, 19% are SQL files, 14% are web pages, 10% are tax return files, and 5% are Mac OS files.

According to a recent UBM Black Hat Attendee Survey of 250 security professionals, the most frequently cited serious new cyberthreat in the past 12 months is the rapid increase in the use of ransomware. Approximately 37% reported that as their biggest emerging concern.

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Ericka Chickowski specializes in coverage of information technology and business innovation. She has focused on information security for the better part of a decade and regularly writes about the security industry as a contributor to Dark Reading.  View Full Bio

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