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How Ransomware Has Evolved Over the Past 5 Years

Major ransomware attacks are increasing worldwide. Find out how this type of malware has evolved over the last several years.

Ransomware attacks are becoming more powerful and more frequent, as demonstrated by the latest WannaCry ransomware attack. More than 200,000 organizations — including the UK’s National Health Service — in 150 countries were infected with WannaCry ransomware. The WannaCry attack used stolen information from the National Security Agency (NSA). These NSA tools have been very useful to hackers, who have been able to carry out more sophisticated spyware and ransomware attacks. Click here to protect your device by quickly checking for hidden malware with Security Scan:

Although Security Scan is a strong measure individually, these kinds of attacks are likely to grow, too, as more of the NSA’s hacking tools are published. In this instance, WannaCry took advantage of a vulnerability in Microsoft’s older software. Microsoft had issued a patch for the vulnerability, but users either didn’t update their software or didn’t receive the update. This shows how important it is to make sure that you receive the latest security updates for your devices, in addition to scanning your device for ransomware, so that you can be protected against all types of malware.

Read More: Ransomware Attacks Are Increasing on Android

Ransomware Through History

In comparison to other malware, the history of ransomware is much shorter. The first case of ransomware occurred in 1989, and targeted the healthcare industry (still a major ransomware target today). However, ransomware didn’t become the threat that it is today until around 2005. Since then, two of the most popular types of ransomware have been crypto and locker ransomware. Crypto ransomware encrypts users’ files, whereas locker ransomware only locks users out of their files. A hybrid of the two types has become more popular in recent years.

A Ransomware Evolution

Ransomware has evolved considerably over the last five years, and new, different types of ransomware are continuously appearing. In 2016, there were about 4,000 ransomware attacks each day, and roughly 70% of businesses infected with ransomware paid the ransom. With the release of the NSA hacking tools, and the rise of automation (allowing hackers to target more people with little effort), this will likely grow in 2017.

Hackers are now sending ransomware in PDFs via email. If a victim clicks on the PDF, he or she will be taken to a web page mimicking Google to type in personal information. This is becoming a more recent trend in the world of malware, with various malicious file types being sent over email to victims. Files may even include ransomware powerpoint presentations (ransomware ppt). The evolution of ransomware also includes Internet of Things devices as a growing target. This is because these devices are always connected to the Internet, and often have poor security or receive few updates.