As crypto adoption increases, the industry becomes attractive to fraudsters. Perhaps, one of the most active sets of criminals that have plagued the industry are ransomware criminals. According to a recent report by crypto ransomware manager Coveware, there has been a massive increase in the payments being made to ransomware attackers as of late.
Ransomware is a form of computer malware that infiltrates a host computer and locks the user out, irrevocably cutting access to computer data. Once the criminal has control, he sends the victim a note, asking for a ransom to be paid in bitcoin.
The Coverware report showed that the average daily ransom paid to attackers rose by 90 percent over the last quarter; increasing from $6,733 in Q4 2018 to $12,733 in Q1 2019.
In addition to this, the report claimed that the average downtime experienced due to ransomware attacks increased from 6.2 days in Q4 2018 to 7.3 days in Q1 2019.
Data compiled by the startup was collected from various companies and users that had been affected by ransomware attacks, showing that the results were indicative of the responses gathered, and not the entire crypto industry.
Ryuk: The Main Culprit
This spike in ransom payments was attributed to the increase in attack occurrences. However, one ransomware, in particular, known as Ryuk, was highlighted for being singularly responsible for this attack surge.
Ryuk was highlighted as one of the most challenging ransomware to decrypt, and this difficulty is the sole factor responsible for increased downtimes. The report claimed that a single Ryuk attack would cost $288,000 in data retrieval efforts, while other attackers generally demand less than $10,000.
Companies Are Running Scared
In truth, there is a lesser occurrence of ransomware attacks among crypto-based companies. These set of businesses have bigger demons that keep them awake at night. Companies in the crypto space are more terrified of threats such as direct hacks, account information leak, and more. However, ransomware attacks strike fear in the mind of every company with valuable data.
According to a report on news platform RT, companies have become more conscious of the potential losses that they could face if a ransomware attack occurs.
To prepare for the rainy day, most of them have begun purchasing Bitcoin (BTC), in preparation of that eventuality. The report highlighted that Bitcoin remains the most common payment method of choice among ransomware attackers. The sentiment was backed up by the Coveware report, which estimated that 98 percent of attackers would prefer to be paid their ransom in Bitcoin.
However, all of this could stop soon, as global payment processor PayPal recently developed a product to help with real-time ransomware detection.
The patent for the product, which was awarded by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) on April 16, describes a “technique for ransomware detection and mitigation.”
Primarily, the technique detects the original copy of the content that was saved in a computer’s hard drive, retains the information, and allows the user to have access to it, even if an “altered version” of it has been affected by ransomware.
PayPal’s ransomware detection tool isn’t the all-encompassing security solution that most companies hope for. If anything, it only covers one of the many threats that companies face (and a less frequent one at that).