Ransomware is the most profitable cybercrime

Cisco report finds that encrypting victim’s data makes a lot of money

Ransomware has fast become the dominant form of malware as it makes the most profit for gangs, according to new research.

Cisco's 2016 Midyear Cybersecurity Report found that fragile infrastructure, poor network hygiene, and slow detection rates are the main reasons this type of malicious attack is effective.

The networking firm said it expects the upward trend in ransomware to continue with even more destructive variants that can spread by themselves and hold entire networks and companies hostage appearing.

Advertisement - Article continues below

It said new modular strains of ransomware will be able to quickly switch tactics to maximise efficiency and future ransomware attacks will evade detection by being able to limit CPU usage and refrain from command-and-control actions.

The report also found a growing number of ransomware attacks using server vulnerabilities specifically within JBoss servers of which, 10 per cent of those connected to the internet worldwide were found to be compromised. Many of the JBoss vulnerabilities used to compromise these systems were identified five years ago, meaning that basic patching and vendor updates could have easily prevented such attacks, according to Cisco.

Cyber criminals are also getting better at keeping a low profile when carrying out ransomware attacks, with an increased use of cryptocurrency, Transport Layer Security and Tor, which enables anonymous communication across the web.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

The report said  many companies do a lousy job of keeping software up to date as a means of defending against ransomware attacks. It reported that 20-25 per cent of Chrome users were on the latest version of the browser, and Java sees slow migrations with one-third of the systems examined running Java SE 6, which is being phased out by Oracle (the current version is SE 10).

Advertisement - Article continues below

In Microsoft Office 2013, 10 per cent or less of users are using the newest service pack version.

"As organisations capitalise on new business models presented by digital transformation, security is the critical foundation. Attackers are going undetected and expanding their time to operate. To close the attackers' windows of opportunity, customers will require more visibility into their networks and must improve activities, like patching and retiring ageing infrastructure lacking in advanced security capabilities," said Marty Roesch, vice president and chief architect of the Security Business Group at Cisco.

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Putting a spotlight on cyber security

An examination of the current cyber security landscape

Download now

The economics of infrastructure scalability

Find the most cost-effective and least risky way to scale

Download now

IT operations overload hinders digital transformation

Clearing the path towards a modernised system of agreement

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/29204/how-can-you-protect-your-business-from-crypto-ransomware
Security

How can you protect your business from crypto-ransomware?

4 Nov 2019
Visit/security/ransomware/356292/university-of-california-gets-fleeced-by-hackers-for-114-million
ransomware

University of California gets fleeced by hackers for $1.14 million

30 Jun 2020
Visit/security/cyber-security/356289/australia-announces-135b-investment-in-cybersecurity
cyber security

Australia announces $1.35 billion investment in cyber security

30 Jun 2020
Visit/cloud/cloud-security/356288/csa-and-issa-form-cybersecurity-partnership
cloud security

CSA and ISSA form cyber security partnership

30 Jun 2020

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/security/vulnerability/356295/microsoft-patches-high-risk-flaws-that-can-be-exploited-with-a
vulnerability

Microsoft releases urgent patch for high-risk Windows 10 flaws

1 Jul 2020
Visit/policy-legislation/data-protection/356344/eu-institutions-warned-against-purchasing-any-further
data protection

EU institutions told to avoid Microsoft software after licence spat

3 Jul 2020