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Ransomware modifications increased 14 per cent in Q1

Ransomware is something like the digital version of Kanye West – everyone hates it, but its popularity just keeps on growing. And it takes your money for things you really don’t want to buy.

The news about the rising popularity of ransomware was confirmed by security firm Kaspersky Lab, which released its quarterly report into the state of malware.

According to the Q1 report, the company reported 2,900 new malware modifications in the quarter, representing a 14 per cent increase compared to a quarter before.

The most popular ransomware in Q1 was Locky, Kaspersky Lab confirms, which has been seen trying to infect users in 114 countries around the world. According to the report, the malware is still active. Another popular and dangerous ransomware is Petya, which not only encrypts all the data on the disk, but also overwrites the drive’s master boot record so it becomes impossible to boot into the operating system.

The top three ransomware families are Teslacrypt (58.4 per cent), CTB-Locker (23.5 per cent) and Cryptowall (3.4 per cent).

All three find their way towards victims through spam email with infected attachments, or links to infected websites.

“One of the reasons why ransomware has become so popular lies in the simplicity of the business model used by cybercriminals. Once the ransomware gets into the users’ system there is almost no chance of getting rid of it without losing personal data. Also, the demand to pay the ransom in bitcoins makes the payment process anonymous and almost untraceable which is very attractive to fraudsters. Another threatening trend is the Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) business model where cybercriminals pay a fee for the propagation of malware or promise a percentage of the ransom paid by an infected user,” says Aleks Gostev, Chief Security Expert in the Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT).

Image Credit: Bacho / Shutterstock

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a freelance journalist with more than 15 years of experience in writing various types of content, from blogs, whitepapers, and reviews to ebooks, and many more, across sites including Al Jazeera Balkans, TechRadar Pro, IT Pro Portal, and CryptoNews.