400 million web users at potential risk of ransomware

Around 142 million legitimate websites could be serving up ransomware to their unwitting users due to out-of-date software, according to a new study.

The research carried out by IT security firm Heimdal Security found that hackers were using the Neutrino Exploit Kit to inject malicious scripts into outdated webserver software that could potentially reach 400 million users.

According to a blog post by Andra Zaharia at Heimdal Security, the attack is mainly directed at websites running out of date versions of the WordPress content management system or outdated plugins.

She said that out of the one billion websites in the world, 58.7 per cent of them run WordPress and over 20 per cent of these installations run an outdated version, meaning around 142 million such websites could be vulnerable to ransomware attacks.

Ransomware has appeared in the news of that in the form of an Android porn app which secretly takes pictures of the user before disabling the phone and demanding $500 (£330).

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