Here’s an IT security fact that might surprise you: in 2019, the overall number of malware infections dropped 20% according to Comparitech. Microsoft explains some possible explanations for the overall decrease in malware encounters in 2018 and 2019 could be because of increased security improvements. These important security upgrades are making malware campaigns not as effective when targeting certain operating systems.

As much as we love good news, this data is actually a bit deceiving. Even though the number of malware infections last year decreased, the infections we did have were more disruptive, more complex, and more profitable for the cybercriminals behind the attacks. Malware as we know it is continuing to evolve. It’s latest most dangerous form is ransomware. Ransomware is a type of cryptoviral malware that threatens to publish the victim’s data or block access to it until a ransom is paid.

Ransomware attacks designed to randomly infect home users are now no longer the target. Instead, the targeted ransomware campaigns are increasingly going after businesses, government agencies and local municipalities. It’s not just large enterprises at risk – small and mid-sized companies are often seen as easy targets. Here are some top ransomware trends to watch out for in 2020.

  Although overall consumer ransomware decreased in 2019, the overall ransomware infection rates are continuing to grow steadily, where cybercriminals are targeting larger organizations. Unfortunately, ransomware will continue to grow in cybercrime since it is cheap, effective, and quick when getting ransoms from victims. Overall, consumer infection rates are dwindling; however, small and medium-sized companies are still some of the biggest ransomware targets. Ransomware is all about the encryption of important files and data, and then selling it back to its owner. But, the average consumer’s files and data are not as valuable when compared to a larger business. A larger business means a more disposable cash flow, which is exactly what the cybercriminals are looking for. According to multiple service providers, 99% of them said Microsoft Windows operating systems are most frequently targeted by ransomware attacks; however, this does not necessarily mean that OS X and Android are in the clear, as ransomware attacks can infect any operating system. Between 2018 and 2019, the U.S. accounted for approximately 53% of all ransomware attacks. Americans will still become ransomware attack victims in 2020, but cybercriminals are shifting more of their focus on other countries. The amount of mobile users is continuing to rise, so it only makes sense that the business data that is stored within them is also increasing. Mobile devices are seen to be the primary ransomware victim device in 2020. Cybercriminals are shifting their focus when it comes to ransomware attacks. With a greater diversity of systems, there will be ransomware focused more on the platforms like the cloud for broader leverage of digital changes. To keep your business’s devices and accounts protected from ransomware attacks, knowing what the latest trends for 2020 are key. For more tips on preventing ransomware attacks, or for general IT service questions, contact ThrottleNet today!

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