According to data gathered by the security firm ESET's LiveGrid telemetry, ransomware accounted for a third of the threats that targeted computer users in the UK during the past week.
A recent spike in the sheer volume of ransomware attacks in the UK has been attributed to new malicious code called JS/Danger.ScriptAttachment. Once on a users' computer, this code attempts to download and install various pieces of malware. It then executes the ransomware Telsacrypt which encrypts user data and demands payment. Users who pay the demanded fee will regain access to their data.
The surge in ransomware occurred between 19-26 April. Ondrej Kubovic, an IT security specialist at ESET, explained why the amount of ransomware rose when it did: “To reach as many victims as possible, attackers are spamming inboxes in various parts of the world. Therefore, users should be very cautions about which messages they open.”
Kubovic went on to detail what users and companies should be aware of when dealing with emails amidst the growing amount of ransomware: “If an email comes from an unknown sender or its contents are not expected, it should be deleted. Companies should also train employees to report similar incidents to their internal security departments”.
To prevent falling victim to ransomware, users should have reliable security software installed on their systems, have their operating systems up to date and all of their sensitive private data should be backed up in multiple places in order to recover from an attack as quickly and easily as possible.