Intel Security releases ransomware report for Q2 2016

Intel Security event
Intel Security today said it tracked $100,000 in targeted hospital ransomware payments through suspect Bitcoin accounts.

The Intel Security survey shows healthcare and manufacturing sectors are among the least prepared to prevent data loss.

More than 25 percent of companies surveyed do not monitor sharing of or access to employee or customer data.

37 percent of organizations surveyed use endpoint monitoring of user activity and physical media activity.

90 percent of respondents have cloud protection strategies, but only 12 percent have visibility into data activity in the cloud.

Total mobile malware increased 151 percent in Q2 2016.

Total ransomware surged 128 percent, while macro malware grew 106 percent.

While healthcare is clearly a small proportion of the overall ransomware business, McAfee Labs expects a growing number of new industry sectors to be targeted by the extensive networks launching such attacks.

In the first half of 2016, McAfee researchers identified a ransomware author and distributor who claimed to have received $121 million (BTC 189,813) in payments from ransomware operations targeting a variety of sectors.

McAfee Labs attributes the increased focus on hospitals to such organizations’ reliance on legacy IT systems, medical devices with weak or no security, third-party services that may be common across multiple organizations and the need for hospitals to have immediate access to information to deliver the best possible patient care.

“As targets, hospitals represent an attractive combination of relatively weak data security, complex environments and the urgent need for access to data sources, sometimes in life or death situations,” said Vincent Weafer, vice president for Intel Security’s McAfee Labs.

The survey found that retail and financial services organizations have deployed the most extensive protections against data loss, a finding McAfee Labs attributes to organizational responses to the frequency of cyber-attacks and the value of the data held by companies in these two sectors.

The research revealed that more than 25 percent of respondents do not monitor the sharing of or access to sensitive employee or customer information, and only 37 percent monitor the usage of both, although this figure rises to almost 50 percent for the largest organizations.

Nearly 40 percent of data losses involve some kind of physical media, such as thumb drives, but only 37 percent of organizations use endpoint monitoring of user activity and physical media connections that could counter such incidents.

While 90 percent of respondents claim to have implemented cloud protection strategies, only 12 percent are confident in their visibility into the activity of their data in the cloud.

In the second quarter of 2016, McAfee Labs’ global threat intelligence network detected 316 new threats every minute, or more than five every second, and registered notable surges in ransomware, mobile malware, and macro malware growth.

Denial-of-service attacks gained 11 percent in the quarter to move into first place. Browser attacks dropped by 8 percent from Q1. These most prominent attack types were followed by brute force, SSL, DNS, Scan, backdoor, and others.

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