Ransomware set to continue in 2017

Ransomware set to continue in 2017 [Image: scyther5 via iStock]

The third quarter of 2017 will likely see more ransomware attacks, according to a new report by Kaspersky Labs. However, the main aim of many of these will be to cause disruption, rather than monetary gain.

These attacks will follow on from the WannaCry hack that affected the NHS earlier this year. According to the report authors, that attack was ineffective as ransomware because “its rapid global spread and high profile put a spotlight on the attackers’ Bitcoin ransom account and made it hard for them to cash out”. According to Kaspersky Labs, this suggests that the true intention of the WannaCry attack was “data destruction”.

Kaspersky Labs said that “destructive malware disguised as ransomware” is going to continue to be a problem into the third quarter, following on from the last quarter, when two separate instances of this were seen. The cyber security company said that this “is going to be a new alarming trend to deal with”.

It is likely that the world is going to see more of these attacks, particularly affecting essential services and infrastructure, such as energy and other utilities. Kaspersky Labs said that targeting energy-related companies and organisations will increase, with a particular focus on countries that control oil and gas.

Issuing advice to businesses, Kaspersky Labs said that all threats should be considered. According to the company, many threat intelligence providers “have a limited world view”, with their data covering only a small set of threats. It said that many enterprises think that certain threats do not pose a risk to them because they have only targeted certain industries or countries, but in thinking like this, they could be leaving themselves open to attacks.

Kaspersky Labs recommended that users make sure they have prevention, such as endpoint protection, and advanced detection capabilities, such as a solution that can detect anomalies and analyse suspicious files at a deeper level.