Five-fold rise in crypto-ransomware hits 718,000 users in a year

As if we didn't know it, ransomware is on the rise but Kaspersky Lab has produced statistics to benchmark just how bad the problem is getting.

According to its research, there was a 17.7 percent rise in ransomware attacks in the period April 2015 to March 2016 compared to the previous 12 month period, rising from 1.97 million attacks to 2.32 million.

Kaspersky's analysis included statistics for screen-blocker ransomware and crypto-ransomware. Looking just at the crypto variety, it found a 5.5 times increase in attacks, rising from 131,111 in 2014/15 to 718,536 in 2015/16.

The number of users affected by both types of ransomware continued to rise, going up from 3.63 percent of users in 2014/15 to 4.34 percent in 2015/16.

Of those who were hit, the number targeted by screen blockers fell by 13 percent while the share of victims who were hit by crypto-ransomware soared from 6.6 percent to 31.6 percent.

The hardest hit countries were Germany, Italy and the US.

“The biggest problem with crypto-ransomware today is that sometimes the only way to get the encrypted data back is to pay the criminals, and victims tend to pay. That brings a lot of money into the underground ecosystem that has grown up around this malware, and as a result we are seeing new cryptors appear almost daily,” said Fedor Sinitsyn, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

Nevertheless, Kaspersky's advice to victims of ransomware is not to pay and to report the incident to police.