Ransomware has long been a menace for organizations and consumers. Global damage cost estimates reach about 10 billion USD per year. After all these years, why does ransomware continue to be so good at being so bad? The answer is a combination of the security industry’s history of largely ineffective responses to ransomware and how ransomware developers use psychology to trick users into thinking they’re responding to requests from a colleague or even donating Bitcoins to a children’s charity.
Ransomware is hardly new and unknown since it has been around since 1989. Yet it remains one of the most common and successful attack types. According to reports, there were over 180 million ransomware attacks in the first six months of 2018 alone. The adoption of cryptocurrencies and Tor have served to amplify the prevalence of ransomware dramatically.
“Even with billions upon billions of dollars invested in cybersecurity and decades of companies deploying firewalls and antivirus solutions, ransomware still succeeds. Understanding why requires examining how the malware functions, and why our existing approaches to fighting it keep failing.”
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