These are the biggest ransomware attacks in last 5 years


Ransomware has become a nightmare to companies to whom data means lifeblood. And over the years, the said malware variant has grown from a mere curiosity filled with annoyance to a major crisis deeply entwined with top secret spy agencies and international intrigue.

So, to enlighten our readers on the story of ransomware as it’s grown, here’s a list of the biggest ransomware attacks which took place in last 5 years.

CryptoLocker- The year 2013 witnessed the outburst of this ransomware on a grand scale. This malware spread like wild fire through attachments and spam messages and used RSA public key encryption to seal up user files, demanding crypto currency in exchange of decryption keys. An Avast survey disclosed to the world that over 500,000 machines were hit by this malware.

TeslaCrypt- This malware can be treated as a predecessor of Cryptolocker as it targeted ancillary files associated with maps, downloadable content, videos games and such. Security researchers concluded in their survey that TeslaCrypt accounted to 48 percent of ransomware attacks in 2016. But for some reason in June ‘16, the creators of TeslaCrypt announced to the world that they were done with the software and so offered the master decryption key to the world as an open source.

SimpleLocker-  This malware variant was designed to exclusively target android mobiles. And the developers of this malware spread this malicious software from late 2015 which lasted till 3Q of 2016. This ransomware variant was the first to deliver its malicious payload via a trojan downloader, which made it more difficult for security measures to catch up. Later a survey conducted by Malwarebytes notified to the world that the said malware targeted more than 150,000 android based mobiles by late 2016, out of which most of them were from the US and Eastern Europe.

WannaCry- May 2017 witnessed a ransomware outbreak which infected more than 250,000 computer systems operating on unpatched windows OSes. The hackers from North Korea targeted computer machines operating in more than 150 countries with the said ransomware and held the data on the machines as hostage until a ransom of $300 USD was paid to them as an initial payment. Security experts from Cisco Talos said that the Wannacry hackers exploited a Windows vulnerability which was exposed by NSA in April’17.

NotPetya- In June 2017, computers operating in private and public entities of Ukraine and some parts of Europe were targeted by ransomware called Petya. But later, security experts said that the malware was not a petya virus, but has some features related to it and so named it as NotPetya Ransomware. Ukraine released an official statement that more than 66,000 systems were infected by the said ransomware which was spread by Russian hackers.

Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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