Ransomware attacks skyrocket, Q1 2019


Ransomware attacks skyrocketed in the first quarter of 2019, according to the Beazley Breach Response (BBR) Services team, which reports a 105% increase in the number of ransomware attack notifications against clients compared to Q1 2018.

Not only has the frequency of attacks increased, but attackers are shifting focus, targeting larger organizations and demanding higher ransom payments.

While ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) attacks remain commonplace and tend to hit unsuspecting small businesses, sophisticated attack groups associated with Ryuk and Bitpaymer ransomware variants are targeting larger organizations through phishing emails and tricking users into deploying banking Trojans.

In the first quarter of 2019, the average ransomware demand reported to the BBR Services team was 93% higher than the 2018 average. And, according to incident response firm Coveware, the average price of ransoms in Q1 2019 increased by 89% as compared to Q4 2018.

Bill Siegel, CEO of Coveware, attributes the increased number of attacks to two main factors. "First, anytime the average ransom demand goes up, it's going to pull in more attack groups interested in making money. Second, the easy availability of exploit kits (such as banking Trojans) and RaaS means there is a lower barrier to entry for would-be hackers."

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