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Last year, ransomware asserted itself as the dominant cyber threat on a global scale. The numbers themselves are stupefying. Over a hundred new ransomware families emerged last year, while companies and users were extorted for hundreds of millions of dollars.

What’s more, the average value of a ransom demand climbed from $294 at the end of 2015 to $679 in April 2016.

new ransomware families

Percentage of New Families of Misleading Apps, Fake AV, Locker Ransomware, and CryptoRansomware Identified Between 2005 and June 2016.

Source: ISTR Insights Special Report: Ransomware and Business 2016

No one was spared, as schools, hospitals, county governments, police departments, companies of all sizes and even churches fell victims to encrypting malware.

The malware economy thrived, as cybercriminals fine-tuned their malware and delivery methods to infect more devices and go undetected for longer periods of time. This is why ransomware will most likely continue to be the biggest security challenge on 2017 as well.

As a team, we strongly believe that a key asset in the fight against ransomware is education. To be aware that this threat exists and to know what you can do to protect your data against it means half the battle is won! The other half is implementing the good (and rather simple) advice that cyber security experts keep insisting on.

That is why we are happy to be able to contribute to the No More Ransom initiative, which aims to bring together the knowledge and experience of both private cyber security companies and law enforcement institutions.

Through this common effort, the initiative can help both those already affected by ransomware (by providing free decryption tools) and those who want to protect themselves from this unnerving threat (with free prevention advice).

What’s more, the Crypto Sheriff tool can help ransomware victims discover what they’ve been infected with and, hopefully, recover their data by using one of the decryption tools created by cyber security specialists.

No More Ransom also makes it easy for ransomware victims to report cyber crimes, which is incredibly important because it helps law enforcement agencies track down and take down the culprits behind these illegal activities. Unfortunately, the numbers we see in terms of infections and money lost are still just the tip of the iceberg, because the majority of victims never report the cyber crimes they’ve been affected by.

We’d like to take this opportunity to salute the Dutch National Police, Europol, Intel Security and Kaspersky Lab, the original founders of the initiative! We believe that working closer together as a community is incredibly important for making a significant impact on stifling cybercrime.

If you’d like to have a quick intro to the facts and figures behind ransomware, we’ve set up a dedicated page which includes links to key resources you can use anytime you want. You can also share this page with anyone you think should know about ransomware and the risks it poses for their data.

Keep safe!

Author Profile

Andra Zaharia

Security Evangelist

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As a Security Specialist at Heimdal Security, Andra has made it her mission to help users understand how cyber security works and why it’s essential for any Internet user in the world. Using her background in PR and communication, she singles out relevant subjects and extracts actionable market data and key examples to illustrate them.

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