The endpoint security software company Avecto reported that at least 30% of the councils in the UK have been victims of a ransomware attack
The company’s report was based on a freedom of information (FOI) request towards the councils. During the research, 46 councils were asked if they had been targeted by a ransomware attack over the past year.
30% of these answered affirmative (13 councils), with one council saying it suffered 13 attacks in 2015. According to the same research, nine councils withheld information and 14% failed to answer.
“The true figures could be even higher,” Avecto stated. Approximately two thirds, however, (65%) said they had not paid any ransom to the hackers, while 35% did not reveal this information. “These are sobering statistics,” says Paul Kenyon, co-founder and co-CEO at Avecto.
“Ransomware attacks are particularly attractive to cyber criminals because they can be relatively cheap and easy to deploy, and even if a minority of targets pay up then the attack overall can be profitable. It’s estimated that 9,515 users in the US alone are paying ransoms every month.”
Nowadays, ransomware is one of the most popular type of malware attack, in which cyber criminals encrypt all the data on the victim’s computer, and demand ransom in Bitcoin in order to decrypt the files.
Usually, ransomware starts with a phishing attack, where the victim is lured into downloading and running a malicious application, usually sent via an email.
According security experts, being careful what you download and install and backing up your system regularly, is the best way to protect yourself from malware attacks.