How are hackers conducting fewer malware attacks spending their time these days? Executing ransomware instead. In fact, ransomware attacks are up 20% year over year through the first half of 2020 globally, and a stunning 109% in the U.S.
Lest you think the coronavirus pandemic has nothing to do with that jump, moreover, keep this in mind: The biggest year-over-year ransomware increases were in February and March, when both infections and the resulting upheaval were especially high. With confirmed COVID-19 cases reaching new peaks now, SonicWall points out, there could be another ransomware surge on the way in the second half of the year.
To make matters worse, ransomware has become not just more prevalent but more harmful too. Attackers are going after overwhelmed hospitals that can’t afford downtime, for example, and interfering with relief efforts by city and state governments.
“They’re being way more strategic in their targets,” Conner says. “They are following the money.”
And demanding more of that money, he adds, pointing to the $1.14 million paid by the University of California, San Francisco, in June.
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