With the year 2016 almost behind us, it is time to reflect on how ransomware has affected business and consumers around the world. As one would come to expect, some forms of this nasty malware are far more common than others. A recent report by Malwarebytes tells us which three types were most common in the US, a list that won’t surprise anyone.
Even though the number of different ransomware strains has grown exponentially throughout 2016, three types seem to come back more often than not. That is not entirely surprising, as most forms of ransomware are based on the three main families of malware. The latest MalwareBytes report indicates only those that are suspicious, which is quite troublesome in its own right.
Cerber is by far the most commonly distributed form of ransomware. We discussed this type of malware at length in a previous article. However, the developers of Cerber continue to step up their game every quarter, making life far more difficult for security researchers than ever before. Moreover, new features are added to this malicious code on a regular basis.
As one would expect from such a popular type of ransomware, it has been used to infect both consumer and enterprise networks alike. Cerber developers have made quite a lot of money from their efforts, and continue to do so. The Malwarebytes report indicates that Cerber was most commonly detected in Q3 of 2016, indicating that Q4 would see similar results.
Locky is perhaps the ransomware family with the most mainstream media coverage this year. Some experts even see Locky as the malware of both the present and the future, with many more improvements yet to come. It is the most commonly distributed ransomware across the US, which is not a positive development by any means.
Even though Locky was first discovered in February of 2016, there is no cookie-cutter solution to get rid of this malware without meeting the Bitcoin demand. Every since the discovery of Locky, the ransomware has been spreading to over 200 different countries. Such a global footprint is virtually unheard of in the malware industry, but it is only a sign of things to come.
Closing out the top three is CryptoWall, one of the oldest types of ransomware to still pose a significant threat to consumers and enterprises. Most people have heard this name before, even though CryptoWall exists in many different forms. As is the case with any of these popular ransomware families, their code base is often integrated into other forms of malware.
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