Ransomware: How to tackle extortion attacks in 2016

Ransomware has been one of the most lucrative businesses for cybercriminals – and a major pain for end-users and businesses – for the past couple of years.

At first only the Windows operating system was targeted, but the status quo changed when Linux and Android ransomware samples started claiming victims. While security experts agree it was bound to happen, this diversification can only bring forth a 2016 that’s scary for the average internet user and profitable for malware developers.

The Leap towards Extortionware

Among Bitdefender’s predictions for 2016, ransomware is not only a top concern, it will also change the way we perceive personal data. If until now it simply encrypted data and demanded payment for unlocking access to critical information, in 2016 it will move towards extortionware by threatening to also post all accessed data online.

Consumers who chose not to pay can always recover their data online once it’s posted. However, for businesses and large companies that get hit, this might not be a viable option. While personal files, such as photos or documents, might be sensitive to the average user, companies would be far more impacted by having critical and potentially confidential data posted online.

Consequently, when faced with public shaming for slack security coupled with a crippled company reputation, extortionware might be a far more profitable business for cybercriminals when targeting SMBs.