No matter all the warnings about ransomware attacks, the small business will not cease. Actually, the companies will pay the ransom instead to recover their encrypted files and continue their work. This is the reason why Australia will continue to be increasingly targeted by hackers looking to make a fast gain from malware.
Ransomware as a service (RaaS), is growing phenomenon which lets perpetrators rent ransomware-generating engines to target a particular portion of Internet users. Hackers “know that people from certain countries have a high exposure rate [to ransomware],” the ESET ANZ senior researcher Nick FitzGerald said.
“If Australians end up downloading and executing bad code more than others, [perpetrators] might be prepared to pay more to target Australians because they know it has a lot of wealthy people, and because they know there’s a bigger chance of it getting onto machines – which is a higher ROI.”
In fact, the creators of ransomware have had great success targeting Australian users lately, driving the country up the leaderboard to the point where they regularly rank amongst the world’s most frequent ransomware victims.
According a study from 2014, about 9415 TorrentLocker victims were discovered, putting it second in the world – while a Trend Micro analysis last year found Australia was hit with a flood of TorrentLocker emails which produced a flood of Australian victims – up from a 2013 analysis in which Kaspersky Labs ranked Australia fifth globally.
The latest security report by ESET, pointed out the growing sophistication of ransomware attacks, which have expanded to include mobile devices with recent ransomware like Lockdroid and Lockerpin.
Keeping in mind all the new threats coming out and the businesses focused more on staying in operation than on philosophical arguments about stamping out ransomware by ignoring it, businesses which were attacked by cyber criminals were finding it much easier to pay the ransom.
“Morally you shouldn’t encourage people by paying up,” FitzGerald stated, “but if it means the death of your business – which might include a dozen people – what are people realistically going to do?”
“It’s not an enormous amount of money for someone from a developed Western industrialised economy, and [operational shutdown] is a total calamity so it’s often a no-brainer for people affected by these things to pay up.”
The successful malware attacks may also be fuelled by Australia’s relatively large base of small and medium businesses, which usually don’t have the security budgets of larger companies as well as the backup infrastructure and technological know-how necessary to work around many ransomware infections. For that reason, many businesses are proving ripe territory even for old malware.