Cryptocurrency ransomware is shooting through the roof.
It’s a Scary Time to Depend on Digital Means
Imagine opening your computer one day, browsing online, trying to get some work done and then WHAM! Your computer just locks up and a random message appears on your screen demanding bitcoin or related cryptocurrency in exchange for re-entry to your computer. It is an ugly sight, and it is an unfair sight at that. The computer and its contents are your property; no one should have access to them but you, yet there are many out there that assume otherwise.
Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts one’s digital device in such a way that the person cannot use it or gain access to its contents without issuing money to an anonymous hacker. While ransomware has been a common threat over the years, analysts say that more ransomware is appearing that requests cryptocurrency payments. In fact, it’s estimated that approximately 90 percent of today’s corresponding ransomware requires payments in crypto in exchange for access to one’s computer.
During quarter one of 2019, the average ransomware crypto payment shot up to about $12,762 – nearly double what was recorded during quarter four of 2018. Bitcoin remains the most popular cryptocurrency among hackers, and nearly 98 percent of recent attacks have required bitcoin payments.
This data was compiled by Coveware, a ransomware support firm. However, the information comes only from software companies and individuals that have contacted the firm for assistance. This leaves us with two potential points of thought, the first being how many parties were hit with ransomware and either dealt with the situations themselves or with another company, or simply paid the hackers because they needed access fast.
The report leaves a lot of room open for contemplation, and it’s plausible to assume that many firms were hit with ransomware attacks that are not being accounted for.
Among the most dangerous forms of ransomware today is Ryuk, which appears to be “single-handedly responsible” for the massive increase between last year and 2019. Ryuk is known to demand as much as $288,000 per attack.
A Growing Leader in the Ransomware Space
Coveware explained in a statement:
Ryuk is just one of dozens of types of ransomware observed impacting companies during the quarter. Ryuk ransoms are much higher than others. [It] was not even close to being in the top three in our last report (quarter four), so its increase in market share and corresponding high average ransoms pulled the average up.
The firm explains that most other forms of ransomware charge less than $10,000 per attack on most occasions. At press time, the ransomware’s market share is only 18 percent, sitting behind competitors such as Grand Crab and Dharma which boast 20 percent and 27.8 percent respectively.