Europol: Ransomware Attacks are a “Global Epidemic’

Europol’s premier policy agency has underlined the growing threat of ransomware attacks as an “epidemic”.

In its latest annual report on organized internet crime, Europol has stated that a ransomware “epidemic” has taken over with compromised computers as well as internet-connected devices such as CCTV cameras and routers.

Europol wrote in its report:

Ransomware attacks have eclipsed most other global cybercrime threats, with the first half of 2017 witnessing ransomware attacks on a scale previously unseen.

The report cited a number of high-profile ransomware attacks including the WannaCry ransomware attack in May, a cyberattack that impacted as many as 300,000 targets across 150 countries. The notorious Mirai malware also figured as cyberattack that struck insecure devices connected to the internet of things. In one comprehensive incident, the malware hacked into about 150,000 internet-connected devices like cellphones, printers, security cameras and routers to whip them into a botnet. These

Europol chief Rob Wainwright stated:

The global impact on huge cyber security events such as the WannaCry ransomware epidemic has taken the threat from cybercrime to another level…Banks and other major businesses are now targeted on a scale not seen before.

The report also added that the previous year has seen an ‘unprecedented’ rise in data breaches with large swathes of data being stolen, including some two billion data records related to EU citizens over a 12-month period.

The 80-page report also named darknet markets, data breaches and payment fraud, among others, as growing threat areas.

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