A form of cyber-attack that holds information as well as devices hostage in exchange for a ransom is becoming increasingly popular amongst the attackers. Read on to learn more about the method of attack, how ransomware is changing, and if it is a threat that you and your users should be taking seriously.


Using hacking as means in which to generate revenue is no new concept, this has been going on for some time with some approaches never really gaining steam, however, there are others that have proven to be an easy way to make some cash, therefore spawning multiple copycats.

Ransomware is a form of attack that has been quite effective in making money for hackers and has many high profile success stories, using malware that chargers users to gain access to their own device and files, and to date has had some incredible success.

For those who are unaware, ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts files and demands that users pay a fee in order to regain access and have the files returned, and should they refuse, they risk losing their data and devices for ever – once a countdown clock reaches zero.

Read on for more information about the latest developments regarding ransomware, and how to stay protected against the dangers of the Internet world.

#1. Ransomware is on the Rise

McAfee Labs, a dependable source for internet security has released information indicating there is no slowdown in sight for ransomware attacks:

  • In the first quarter of 2015 alone, ransomware rose a shocking 165%.
  • Continued to grow another 58% throughout the second quarter.

This proves that hackers are getting more than satisfactory results from this type of attack. It is likely that ransomware will continue its rise in popularity until it can be stopped completely, and the latter is not likely at all considering this form of attack has been around in one fashion or another for as long as decades.

#2. A Team Effort in the Hacking Community

It is not just individuals employing this method for scheming innocent users out of their money, there is:

  • An entire community of hackers is working together in order to search for newer and better ransomware.
  • There have even been reports of hackers receiving funding for developing this new ransomware through crowdfunding, receiving support from their colleagues.
  • Then again ransomware itself is also being given away for free to developers, who end up receiving a percentage of the profits.

Because the actual malicious code is being provided for free it means even more attackers who are interested are able to easily go about using social engineering tactics such as phishing and others to increase the amount of victims, almost similar to a franchise operation that distributes malware.

#3. The Name and Shame Game

Often at times the true force behind ransomware attacks is not just the fear of the following:

  • Fear of losing access to devices or losing important files.

It is the fear of being too embarrassed to reach out for help once you have fallen victim, especially considering the means in which they become entrapped in the scheme.

Fake porn apps are a popular method for ransomware distribution, and these often third party apps are infected with ransomware instead of the content users are under the impression they will be receiving upon downloading.

Once downloaded the ransomware often delivers users a message that claims to be from some form of legal organization, including but not limited to the FBI, claiming that there could be legal consequences is users do not pay the amount. One app is even going as far as to capture an image of the infected user using the front facing camera of their smartphone, claiming it is to prove the identity of the person accessing the offensive content.

The best way to avoid this tactic is for users to only download apps from a trusted app store, unfortunately IT professionals will be quick to point out that users who frequent this sort of online environment tend not to be the most technologically savvy sorts in the first place, meaning the warning is often not heard.  You won’t get that from our IT professionals though! We’ll work with you and your employees to provide you with the safest and best practices in staying protected and secure while being online!

Don’t compromise your livelihood just because your IT partner simply isn’t prepared.  For more information on ransomware, get in touch with PNJ Technology Partners to discuss how our Managed IT services offer the best protection for your business needs, at info@pnjtechpartners.com or (518) 459-6712.