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Pretty much every phishing email today has ransomware

Ransomware has become so popular that pretty much every phishing email that gets sent nowadays contains that form of malware. This statement comes from PhishMe Inc, provider of human phishing defense solutions. In its latest report, it says that 97.25 per cent of all phishing emails sent during Q3 of 2016 contained ransomware, up from 92 per cent in Q1.  

Expectedly, Locky is leading the charge as the most popular ransomware variant.  For every other form of malware utilities, only 2.75 per cent of phishing emails remain. Among those, the so-called 'quiet malware', those that avoid detection, are also popular. The jRAT Trojan malware is picking up steam. “Locky will be remembered alongside 2013’s CryptoLocker as a top-tier ransomware tool that fundamentally altered the way security professionals view the threat landscape,” explained Aaron Higbee, CTO and Co-founder, PhishMe. 

“Not only does Locky distribution dwarf all other malware from 2016, it towers above all other ransomware varieties. Our research has shown that the quarter-over-quarter number of analyses has been on a steady increase since the malware’s introduction at the beginning of 2016. Thanks to its adaptability, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.” 

During Q3 2016, PhishMe Intelligence has made 689 malware analyses, which have revelaled an increase in the deployment of Locky. Its executables were most commonly identified, but researchers have also said that this variant is also the most evolving one, as cybercriminals change it to make it as effective as possible.    

Image source: Shutterstock/Nicescene

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.