Ransomware accounts for around a quarter of cyber-threats targeting internet users in the UK. According to research from ESET's LiveGrid, ransomware accounted for a third of threats that targeted UK computers during the third week of April.

The recent spike of attacks has been attributed to the JS/Danger.ScriptAttachment malicious code, which attempts to download and install malware variants to a victim's machine. It then uses TeslaCrypt to demand a payment fee of its victims to regain access to their data.

“Ransomware is going crazy. It is everywhere. As an incident response team we are dealing with ransomware attacks all the time,” said Laurance Dine, managing principal of investigative response at Verizon Enterprise Solutions.

Ondrej Kubovič, security specialist at ESET, explained the rise in ransomware: “To reach as many victims as possible, attackers are spamming inboxes in various parts of the world. Therefore, users should be very cautious about which messages they open.”

Kubovič recommends organisations to train their employees to report incidents to their internal security departments, keep their operating systems and software up to date, and install a reliable security suite that offers protection and regular updates. Users also need to back up all important and valuable data to allow for recovery in case of an incident.