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Will 2016 be the biggest year for enterprise ransomware ever?

We're only three months in and 2016 is already shaping up to be the biggest year ever for ransomware in the enterprise, according to figures from Trend Micro.

The cyber security firm found that there were twice as many ransomware infections in February 2016 than in the whole first three months of 2015. Furthermore, if you combine the figures for January and February’s, it comes to more than triple the infection count for Q1 2015.

Ransomware has become a firm favourite of cybercriminals to extort money out of businesses who are often more than willing to pay up in order to avoid losing confidential data.

Variants such as CyrptoWall and CryptoLocker have caused havoc, disruption and significant financial losses for their corporate victims, due to how easily they can spread through means such as malicious adverts, email attachments, web links or even booby-trapped smartphone apps.

Raimund Genes, CTO at Trend Micro said: “While Ransomware initially just locked computers during startup, it now encrypts all valuable data as Crypto Ransomware and companies are increasingly at risk of losing their valuable assets. In order to retrieve these assets, a payment is usually requirement. This process fuels cybercrime and it’s up to all of us to dry this infamous business model out by putting an effective protection and recovery process in place.”

'Crypto-ransomware' is now by far the most common type, accounting for 100 per cent of UK enterprise infections in February and works by encrypting a company's files before demanding a fee within a certain timeframe. If the fee is not met, the files will be lost forever.

The UK’s share of global ransomware has jumped from 1 per cent at the end of 2014 to almost 5 per cent as of February 2016, with the biggest spike coming this year.

Image source: Shutterstock/Martial Red