Ransomware is already one of the easiest forms of online extortion for hackers to carry out but one cybercriminal group has come up with a new way to make as much money as possible with the least effort: by stealing ransomware code from others, according to researchers.
As many as 21 billion devices used by businesses and consumers around the world are forecast to be connected to the internet by 2020. The risk to business is "significant and growing", the National Crime Agency and National Cyber Security Centre say.
Any devices containing personal data such as photos, that people consider sufficiently valuable to pay for, are likely to be targeted by criminals.
Figures in CyberEdge Group's newly released 2017 Cyberthreat Defence Report suggest that 61 percent of all organisations in the world fell victim to a ransomware attack during 2016.
Of those, over half managed to recover their data without giving into ransom demands, while a third paid cybercriminals to regain access to encrypted files - although you cannot never trust cybercriminals to keep their word. A further 13 percent of organisations opted not to give into ransom demands and lost their data.
Losing data is the most common worrying among affected organisations, with 38 percent of respondents citing it as their biggest reason for fearing ransomware, while 27 percent fear the loss of productivity. Reputation damage, recovery costs and lost revenue are also cited as key fears of ransomware.
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