Hackers using software to block data and then demand money in return are relying on increasingly advanced techniques more commonly seen in cyber-espionage cases, the antivirus company Symantec Corp. said.
While individuals are still the major target of such ransomware attacks, accounting for about 57 percent of recorded victims, infections of businesses and larger organizations are on the rise, spiking in late 2015, Symantec said Tuesday in its annual “Ransomware and Businesses” report. With global losses due to ransomware attacks climbing, perpetrators have a “gold rush” mentality that is fueling new techniques and higher demands for payments.
“A growing number of gangs are beginning to focus on targeted attacks against large organizations,” according to the Mountain View, California-based company. “Although more complex and time-consuming to perform, a successful targeted attack on an organization can potentially infect thousands of computers, causing massive operational disruption and serious damage to revenues and reputation.”