Price of ransomware doubles

Blackmail demands double in six months

Hackers have upped their ransomware demands to almost double the prices they were six months ago, according to a report by Symantec.

The research paper, Ransomware and Businesses 2016, found that the average ransom demand has more than doubled and is now $679, up from $294 at the end of 2015. The report found that a new record has been set for ransom demands, with a threat known as 7ev3n-HONE$T (Trojan.Cryptolocker.AD) requesting a ransom of 13 Bitcoins per computer (worth $5,083 at the time of discovery in January 2016).

Last year saw 100 new ransomware families discovered, the most dangerous being crypto-ransomware, which is capable of locking away the victim's files with strong encryption.

Symantec said that the US continues to be the country most affected by ransomware (31 per cent). Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, UK, Canada, Belgium, India, and Australia complete the top ten.

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It said that while the majority of victims (57 per cent) continue to be consumers, the long-term trend indicates a slow but steady increase in ransomware attacks aimed at organisations rather than individuals.

The services sector was worst hit with 38 percent of organisational infections, followed by manufacturing, with 17 per cent of infections, along with finance, insurance and real estate, and public administration (both on 10 per cent).

"Many of these attacks employ the same high level of expertise we see in cyber espionage attacks, using a toolbox that includes exploits of software vulnerabilities and legitimate software utilities to break into and traverse an organisation's network," said the firm in a blog post.

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