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Ransomware attacks have reached 'stratospheric' levels

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Khakimullin Aleksandr)

Accounting for more than two-thirds (69 percent) of all malware-based cyberattacks, ransomware has reached “stratospheric” levels in the second quarter of the year, a new report from Positive Technologies suggests.

At the same time, the overall number of attacks hasn’t really budged, rising by only 0.3 percent compared to the previous quarter. The report’s authors argue businesses were able to curb further growth by taking “greater measures to secure the network perimeter and remote access systems” during the pandemic. 

By definition, this means that other types of malware attacks have had to give way to ransomware. And with remote becoming the norm, and ransom demands skyrocketing, the spike in ransomware attacks is hardly a surprise.

Not only were there more ransomware attacks, but many of them deployed entirely new malware strains. Positive Technologies identified two new versions: B-JDUN and Tomiris. The former was used in attacks on energy companies, while the latter comes with functions for gaining persistence and can send encrypted information about the workstation to an attacker-controlled server.

Elsewhere in the report, the researchers noted a rise in malware strains designed specifically to target Unix systems. 

“We've got used to the idea that attackers distributing malware pose a danger to Windows-based systems,” said Yana Yurakova, Information Security Analyst, Positive Technologies.

“Now we see a stronger trend of malware for attacks on Unix systems, virtualization tools, and orchestrators. More and more companies, including larger corporations, now use Unix-based software, and that’s why attackers are turning their attention to these systems."

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.