Ransomware and Malware: The Jaw-Dropping Facts

In the cybersecurity industry, ransomware and malware have been hot topics for years.

And it’s no wonder why — ransomware affects 10% of all data breaches. However, ransomware is only a form of something called malware. Malware affects personal and business systems in detrimental ways. Not only that, but malware is complex. So complex to where new malware is registered every 0.2 seconds.

If you’re starting a cybersecurity company, your clients will be taking malware and ransomware seriously. It’s important to know these dangers and how your services can help your clients.

Why Malware and Ransomware Spreads

As a cybersecurity business, you know malware and ransomware spread rapidly. But why is that? Cybercriminals are usually a step further than the good guys. They find different counters to previous malware solutions. This helps them target and infect computers more effectively than they did before.

There are several ways they could achieve this. Cross-platform ransomware targets systems beyond simply Windows. If a client downloads this type of ransomware, it can spread throughout their system. This makes it difficult to contain.

Cybercriminals create new malware constantly. It’s becoming easier to create malware and quickly spread it to various systems. New techniques make it more difficult to remove and even detect malware.

Plus, the modern cybercriminal isn’t exactly a tech genius. Instead, there’s a ransomware-as-a-service industry where individuals can profit off of ransomware. We will explain more about that in a future section.

Example of a Malware Attack

Let’s use the Emotet virus affecting the Fürstenfeldbruck hospital as an example. The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) identifies Emotet as a sophisticated Trojan that drops additional malware into a system. Emotet is usually found in phishing emails. To this day, it’s an ongoing threat.

So, what does this Trojan have to do with a Bavarian hospital? Back in 2018, German District Hospital Fürstenfeldbruck was infected by Emotet. The hospital was offline for more than a week. Fürstenfeldbruck’s main location in Munich was the one most affected, and the malware attack also directly affected the hospital’s 1,800 employees.

Example of a Ransomware Attack

Ransomware is also becoming more distinguished, and REvil/Sodinokibi is a great example of how dangerous ransomware can become.

Its infection capacity is not only immense but can also avoid detection. Arguably the biggest REvil story was when it attacked Quanta, a Taiwan-based company that manufactures MacBooks. As you can guess, Quanta is one of Apple’s most prominent business partners.

They stole all of their local network data and threatened to release this data if not paid. This data included Apple’s data, as well.

Ransomware and Malware Trends for 2022

Cybersecurity businesses need to stay on top of ransomware and malware trends. So, which trends can you expect this year?

Ransomware-as-a-Service

Ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) is a system where non-developers (called affiliates) can use premade ransomware attacks and deploy them. This has been successful because the ransomware isn’t linked to one centralized group and authorities have a difficult time controlling these attacks.

RaaS is also beneficial to the creator of the ransomware used. That’s because they take a percentage of the ransom. This is why RaaS is a profitable business for developers and affiliates alike. The prevalence of remote work has also made RaaS more common and successful.

Mobile Devices

Most businesses forget they can get infected with ransomware via their mobile devices. The ransomware may attack apps and the mobile system as a whole. The ransomware will make the device unusable until the victim pays the ransom.

Vulnerable Industries

Understand that malware and ransomware can affect businesses in all industries. But there are some industries that face more vulnerabilities. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Education
  • Healthcare
  • Government
  • Finance

The pandemic especially made educational institutes, both colleges and schools, vulnerable to malware. In the fall of 2021, there were over 5 million malware attacks on school systems. Some of the most devastating impacts of these attacks include broken systems, downtime, and lost educational opportunities.

This doesn’t mean healthcare companies aren’t still targeted. Between January and February 2021, 34% of healthcare organizations were infected by ransomware.

In addition to private businesses, government agencies are also at risk of attacks — specifically local governments. Even with the country’s aggressive actions toward safeguarding agencies from ransomware and similar attacks, savvy cybercriminals can still find holes in a government’s systems.

This is why local governments, specifically police departments and city halls, are most vulnerable to attacks.

But very few industries are more profitable than the finance industry. This is why finance and banking are areas where hackers love to target. So much so to where the average ransomware attack on the financial sector exceeds $2 million.

Cost of a Ransomware or Malware Attack

Last year, the average ransomware attack cost businesses around $2 million. This figure goes beyond the ransom itself. Other factors that influence the cost include recovery, hours, and downtime, as well as network and device costs.

Unfortunately, the cost of malware and ransomware is only expected to increase. By 2031, the cost of a ransomware attack is projected to be $265 billion.

Do Ransomware Perpetrators Get Caught?

While there are stories of the authorities apprehending savvy cybercriminals, most perpetrators don’t get caught. That’s because there are a variety of ways that hackers stay anonymous. Most perpetrators use cryptocurrency for monetary exchanges. This way, they don’t leave behind a money trail.

Because creating ransomware is becoming easier, more criminals are making multiple ransomware strains without leaving any traces. These strains make it more difficult for law enforcement to identify and contain the newest forms of ransomware. As stated previously, RaaS makes it difficult to identify ransomware developers from affiliates.

Why Cybersecurity Is Profitable

Cybersecurity businesses focus on knowing the latest malware and ransomware trends and how to better protect their clients. But if you’re forming a cybersecurity business or are an investor looking to invest in a cybersecurity business, you’re probably wondering why this industry is becoming so profitable.

First, let’s look at the figures. By 2030, the cybersecurity sector is expected to be worth nearly $540 billion. Most businesses of all sizes are willing to invest in digital protection.

Cybersecurity protects businesses in ways beyond their systems alone. A great cybersecurity company will protect a business’s reputation, its customers, and its employees. And because cyberattacks are on the rise, more businesses are taking their reputation and digital safe more seriously.

Plus, data regulations are becoming more common. From the GDPR to HIPAA, a variety of businesses have a legal need to protect vulnerable data.

Because of the pandemic, more businesses worked remotely. Even now, more employees enjoyed working from home, so more businesses are offering remote and hybrid work environments. This trend makes us more reliant on mobile devices and cloud storage.

No matter which tools a business uses in its remote working environment, there’s a cybersecurity solution to safeguard those platforms.

The protection extends beyond remote work. What if an employee accidentally downloads malware to a company’s system? A cybersecurity team can ensure the malware won’t corrupt their system.

Ransomware and Malware FAQs

In addition to these facts, statistics, and trends, many cybersecurity companies and investors have the same questions about malware and ransomware. Here are some of the most common ones.

How Long Does a Ransomware Attack Take?

On average, ransomware will start affecting a computer’s files in only a few seconds. The best ransomware will take effect immediately. A business can lose several days’ worth of downtime once the attack is successfully deployed.

What Happens If My Client Is a Victim of Ransomware?

First, urge your client to not pay the ransom. That’s because there’s no guarantee your client will get their data back. Paying the attacker will also influence them even more. They will attack more victims knowing their attack was successful. Instead, urge your client to contact the nearest FBI field office.

From here, cybersecurity companies must act to isolate the virus and stop it from spreading. This often involves finding the source. Once you contain the infection, you must assess the damage, decrypt the data, and/or backup your client’s data. Identify the ransomware, if you can. All of this information will help the authorities track down the source of the ransomware.

Ransomware and Malware Are Big Businesses

Even though ransomware and malware are major industries, this only means that cybersecurity will continue becoming more prevalent. Have you always wanted to start your own cybersecurity firm? Or maybe you’re an investor looking to fund a cybersecurity company?

If either example fits your needs, you’ll be happy to learn more about Option3Ventures. We’re a cybersecurity venture capital firm focused on funding cyber-focused businesses. If you want to inquire about our advisory services and cybersecurity investing, you can start by contacting us.

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