Microsoft reports increase in ransomware encounters in first six months of 2017

Posted 07 September 2017 17:51 CEST by Jan Willem Aldershoff

The amount of ransomware attacks that Microsoft detected against Windows computers in the second quarter of this year has increased compared to the two previous quarters. Just in May, the software giant found 1.7 million ransomware encounters. These encounters are PCs running Microsoft security software that come in contact with ransomware and sent the information to Microsoft.

Coming in contact with ransomware doesn’t mean that the computers are actually infected. The increase is likely caused by the fact that Ransomware-As-A-Service (RAAS) has increased in popularity. Through RAAS it’s possible for cybercriminals to easily obtain ransomware, and part of the generated revenue will go the developers of the malware. The cybercriminals only have to make sure the ransomware infects computers.

Also, the Spora and Cerber ransomware are responsible for a growth in encounters. In the first half of this year, Microsoft discovered 71 new ransomware variants. In the same period last year the company discovered 64 new variants.

“With high-profile global outbreaks and other notable trends, the first six months of 2017 can be considered one of the more turbulent periods in the history of ransomware,” Microsoft writes. The company also warns that similar sophisticated or even more complex attacks might be seen in the wild in the near future.

The software giant also stresses that Windows 10 users are best protected against these kinds of attacks and that the upcoming Fall Creators Update will even bring more security features and capabilities in the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Fall Update.


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