The ransomware epidemic in the UK reached new heights in February, with the number of infections reported among enterprises far exceeding the volume spotted in the first six months of 2015.
The new figures from Trend Micro reveal that there were more than twice as many infections last month than in the entire first three months of 2015. If you add January’s tally to last month’s, the figure is more than triple the infection count for the whole first quarter of 2015, the firm claimed.
It’s by and large crypto-ransomware too – with the category accounting for 100% of UK enterprise infections in February and 99% in January.
Cryptographic ransomware is particularly dangerous to organizations as it effectively locks staff out of key systems, bringing productivity and services to a grinding halt.
In Hollywood and Germany, ransomware has hit hospitals, with a disastrous knock-on effect for patients.
At the beginning of the year in Lincolnshire, the county council IT staff were forced to shut down their systems for the best part of a week after a user was socially engineered into opening a malware-laden email attachment.
Ransomware is also hitting SMBs hard, according to Trend Micro.
The security vendor’s stats claim that there were more UK SMB ransomware infections in February this year than in the first three quarters of 2015 combined.
The UK’s share of global ransomware jumped from 1% at the end of 2014 to almost 5% as of February 2016, with the biggest spike apparently coming this year.
Trend Micro’s advice to businesses is to keep systems patched, and invest in anti-malware tools which can spot and block ransomware before it can infect systems.
The figures are backed by others from Bitdefender, which reported at the end of 2015 that ransomware comprised over half (54%) of all malware targeting UK users last year.