How Ransomware Victimizes Millions

 
 
By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 07-08-2016 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    How Ransomware Victimizes Millions
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    How Ransomware Victimizes Millions

    13.1 million Americans have been targeted by ransomware, and of all nationalities they pay extortionists the most—50% of U.S. victims paid their cyber-attackers.
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    Ransomware Not Accurately Identified
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    Ransomware Not Accurately Identified

    Less than half of users can accurately identify ransomware as a type of malware that prevents or limits access to data, but two-thirds know that it can harm computers.
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    Millions Victimized By Ransomware
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    Millions Victimized By Ransomware

    The United States has most ransomware victims—4.1% of the population or 13.1 million. The breakout for other nations is as follows: Germany: 3.8%, or 3.1 million, Romania: 3.4%, or 350,000 France: 3.3%, or 2.2 million United Kingdom 2.6%, or 1.7 million Denmark: 2%, or 100,000
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    Americans Most Willing to Pay
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    Americans Most Willing to Pay

    Americans make cyber-extortion worthwhile; 50% of ransomware victims have paid extortionists. 48% of Romania and 44% of United Kingdom's victims have paid ransom. Germans and Danes seem to be more skeptical; 33 and 14%, respectively, pay requested fees.
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    Most Valued Documents: Photos
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    Most Valued Documents: Photos

    Of all personal documents, Americans value photos most. 30% would pay to recover personal documents and 25% would pay for photos, whereas only 18% would pay to recover job-related documents.
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    Brits Pay More Cash
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    Brits Pay More Cash

    Brits are willing to pay 400 pounds to decrypt their files. The French would be willing to dispense €188 to recover their data, while Germans would part with €211.
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    Americans Most Targeted
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    Americans Most Targeted

    61.8% of all malware files distributed via email target U.S. Internet users and contain some form of ransomware. France, the United Kingdom, Romania, Denmark and Germany follow with 56%, 55%, 50%, 42% and 31%, respectively.
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    Spam Emails Most Feared
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    Spam Emails Most Feared

    Emails are the most common delivery method for ransomware infections. 21% of all ransomware-infected emails target the United States. United Kingdom and France come in second and third, with 9% and 4%.
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    Why Ransomware Is Different From Traditional Malware
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    Why Ransomware Is Different From Traditional Malware

    It doesn't steal victims' information. It encrypts it. It doesn't try to hide after files are encrypted because detection will not restore lost data. It usually demands ransom in a virtual currency. It's relatively easy to produce; there are several well-documented crypto libraries.
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    Two Main Forms of Ransomware
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    Two Main Forms of Ransomware

    Two main types of ransomware circulate today: Device lockers - lock the device screen and display image that blocks access to the device. The message demands payment, but personal files are not encrypted. Crypto-ransomware - boast reversible encryption of personal files and folders, like documents, spreadsheets, pictures and videos.
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    How Ransomware Proliferates
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    How Ransomware Proliferates

    Ransomware proliferates through the following main attack vectors: Spam/social engineering, Direct drive-by-download, Drive-by-download through malvertising, Malware installation tools and botnets
 

Four percent of Americans, or 13 million people, have been targeted by ransomware, malicious software that blocks access to a computer or computer system until the victim pays a sum of money. Ransomware caused $350 million in damage last year, "living up to its reputation as the most significant menace targeting Internet users and organizations to date," according to a report. Half of victims are willing to pay up to $500 to recover encrypted data. The study was conducted last November by iSense Solutions for Bitdefender, a company that offers antivirus software. The survey included 3,009 respondents from Romania, the United States, United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, France, Germany, and Denmark. The margin of error ranged from plus or minus 4.38% to 6.88% with the United Kingdom at the low end of the range and Romania at the high end. The confidence interval was set for 95%. The majority of respondents are men (52%) between the ages of 36 and 55. Half of respondents are business managers.

 
 
 
 
 
Karen A. Frenkel writes about technology and innovation and lives in New York City.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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