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A 2016 report by Symantec, a large security and anti-virus company, sheds light on the current environment of ransomware attacks.   One of the more interesting discoveries is that the Services sector is the most targeted area at 38 percent, followed by Manufacturing, Finance, Insurance and Real Estate.  The services sector appears to be easiest to extract a ransom from, as the consumer facing industry relies heavily on uptime and reputation.

Additionally, the quantity of ransom demanded has more than doubled from $294 in 2015 to $679 in 2016.  This can be attributed to the additional prevalence of ransomware families, or variations of the software.  In fact, the number of families has reached its highest level ever, with over 100 known variations.

Geographically, companies within the United States are most at risk to suffer a ransomware attack.  More than a fourth of all attacks occur on US companies, followed by Canada, Australia, India, and Japan.

As the ransomware hacking community continues to grow and early ransomware becomes more user friendly, the ability for low level hackers to successfully complete an attack increases.  Alternatively, a continuing trend towards crypto-ransomware indicates an increasing level of expertise within hacking groups.  The Symantec report indicates, “A number of ransomware groups have begun using advanced attack techniques, displaying a level of expertise similar to that seen in many cyberespionage attacks.”

With this additional complexity comes security concerns for Information Technology professionals and executive boards alike.  Security Vitals can help mitigate ransomware attack risk and provide knowledge when designing, implementing, and maintaining security systems.