Ransomware is a form of malicious malware that encrypts a victim’s files in exchange for economical gain. Affected organisations are often given detailed instructions for how to pay a ransom fee or get the decryption key and these costs can range from a few thousand dollars to millions, payable to cybercriminals in cryptocurrency. In recent years, ransomware has gone from a niche threat to a global menace following high profile incidents, seeing attacks soar by 288pc in the first half of the year alone. Worryingly for security professionals, the scale and impact of these attacks have exploded with the use of double extortion technique that sees data not just encrypted, but also stolen and posted to the Dark Web for maximum impact. Hackers are even using sales best practices in ransomware attacks, suggesting that they are part of a well-drilled and organised machine targeting unknowing victims including one in three hospitals.
Despite the news coverage that it has received, many businesses are not prepared for the risk of ransomware. But how has ransomware evolved to become so efficient and ruthless in 2021?
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