Ransomware refers to this type of attack where a hacker locks a computer or file and unlocks it only against a ransom. This is the type of attack which is unfortunately most common, according to Europol, and it will get worse.
In its annual report on cybercrime, Europol analyzes new threats that might affect online media users. The European Agency warns against a series of phenomena that evolve in parallel with the acceleration of the digital world. Here is an overview of the main concerns of Europol in terms of threats and specifically ransomware:
- If they were previously rather spared, mobile media are now also threatened by various ransomware types. Indeed, as phones now work more like real computers, they are also more frequently targeted by attacks. Although they are still less targeted than traditional desktops, Europol calls for the development of specific safety programs for mobile. The agency also warned that other “intelligent” devices, such as smart-TV could also be targeted by ransomware attacks in the future.
- While the technical cybercriminals are growing, Europol says that most attacks are usually “neither refined nor sophisticated.” These are the results of poor digital care and behavior risks by the devices’ users.
Gradually replacing the famous Trojan horses, ransomware are programs which are launched attacks where hackers are blocking digital data. Then the latter request for a ransom in exchange for the data release code. The two main ransomware programs emerged in 2013-2014, CryptoWall and CTB-Locker, and are now rampant mostly in Italy and Sweden, but attacks of this kind have also been seen in Belgium and France. One cannot forget about Petra and Locky attacks.
Victims of ransomware who were once individuals and small businesses have now become large companies and even public institutions, as stated Steven Wilson, head of Europol cybercrime center. “We have seen cases where hospital files were locked, with potential fatal consequences,” he added, referring to what just happened in the United States.
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