Plague of ransomware sweeps across the UK

Infected laptop

By now we all realise that ransomware is a growing problem, but the surge seen in this particular malware arena last week is quite staggering.

According to security firm ESET's LiveGrid telemetry no less than 25% of all cyber-attacks in the UK were ransomware-based during the seven days from April 19 to 26.

The reason for this major surge? Apparently it's down to the prevalence of a particular piece of malicious code which goes by the succinct name of JS/Danger.ScriptAttachment.

This little piece of nastiness is capable of hitting the victim's device with crypto-ransomware such as Teslacrypt (one of the more dangerous strains which is continually refined and has been looming large since the end of last year).

Ondrej Kubovic from ESET commented: "To reach as many potential victims as possible, attackers are spamming inboxes in various parts of the world. Therefore, users should be very cautious about which messages they open."

Safe not sorry

As ever, it's better to be safe than sorry if you're even slightly suspicious about a message – and even if it's from a sender you recognise, if the subject line or anything about the email seems iffy, you can always check with the person in question if they've actually sent you a genuine message.

Earlier this month, Symantec published its latest threat report in which it too observed that ransomware is getting out of control (as is identity theft). The report found that ransomware attacks increased by 35% over the course of 2015 compared to the previous year.

The other scary aspect of ransomware is how organised the criminals behind the malware are becoming, having set themselves up like legitimate businesses with call centres to 'help' hapless victims pay up to unlock their encrypted files.

As ever, good backups are key for those unfortunate enough to get hit, and those backups should be kept separate from your computer or company network, so they aren't infected by any attack.

Via: The Inquirer

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).