Malware Declines, but Ransomware Soars

By Karen A. Frenkel  |  Posted 03-30-2017 Email

Last year, both good guys and bad guys achieved gains: Security professionals successfully fought off malware, but cyber-criminals benefited from an explosion in ransomware, according to the "2017 SonicWall Annual Threat Report." Ending a trend, the volume of unique malware samples fell to 60 million from 64 million in 2015, a 6.2% decrease, and the total number of malware attack attempts dropped for the first time in years to 7.9 billion from 8.2 billion in 2015. But Ransomware-as-a-Service enabled the 3.8 million ransomware attacks in 2015 to grow to what the report called "an astounding" 638 million attacks in 2016. The reasons include easier access to the underground market, the low cost of conducting a ransomware attack, the ease of distribution, and the low risk of getting caught or punished. "It would be inaccurate to say the threat landscape either diminished or expanded in 2016—rather, it appears to have evolved and shifted," said Bill Conner, president and CEO of SonicWall. "Cyber-security is not a battle of attrition; it's an arms race, and both sides are proving exceptionally capable and innovative." The report draws on data collected throughout 2016 by the SonicWall Global Response Intelligence Defense (GRID) Threat Network, which receives daily feeds from 1 million security sensors in 200 countries and territories. Following are highlights from the report.

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


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