Alarming Rise in Ransomware

Security researchers have said cyber thieves are adopting ransomware in “alarming” numbers.Experts studying the malicious software have said there are now more than 120 separate families of ransomware.

Other researchers have seen a 3.500% increase in the criminal use of net infrastructure that helps run ransomware campaigns.

The rise is driven by the money that the thieves make with ransomware and the increase in kits that help them snare victims.

European technology head for Intel security, Raj Samani, said: "Ransomware and crypto malware are rising at an alarming rate and show no signs of stopping.”

He added that ransomware samples seen by his company had risen by more than a quarter in the first three months of 2016.

Mr Samani blamed the rise on the appearance of freely available source code for ransomware and the debut of online services that let amateurs cash in.

Security researcher, Bart Parys, who helps to maintain a list of the growing numbers of types of this kind of malware, said ransomware was low risk, easy to use and offered high reward.

He added: "The return on investment is very high."

Mr Parys and his colleagues have now logged 124 separate variants of ransomware.

He said some virtual strains, such as Locky and Cyrptolocker, were controlled by individual gangs but others were being used by people buying the service from an underground market.

He said: "It's safe to say that certain groups are behind several ransomware programs, but not all."

"Especially now with Eda and HiddenTear copy and paste ransomware, there are many new, and often unexperienced, cybercriminals."

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