Trend Micro released its annual security roundup report, “2016 Security Roundup: A Record Year for Enterprise Threats,” which showed that ransomware cyber threats hit an all-time high last year.
According to the company, its data proves 2016 was really the year of online extortion.
Ransomware and Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams increased in popularity in 2016, with a reported 752 percent jump in new ransomware families, which resulted in $1 billion in losses for enterprises worldwide.
“As threats have diversified and grown in sophistication, cybercriminals have moved on from primarily targeting individuals to focusing on where the money is: enterprises,” Ed Cabrera, chief cybersecurity officer for Trend Micro, said in a press release.
One factor that contributed to the rise in ransomware occurrence, Trend Micro noted, was the increase in profitability the cyberthreat presented. Despite the fact that individuals and companies are often advised to not pay ransoms, cybercriminals are still able to make a significant amount of money from these schemes.
BEC scams have also become quite lucrative for cybercriminals.
The report revealed that companies around the world lost $140,000 on average as a result of falling victim to BEC attacks. The scams also point to how successfully fraudsters are able to use social engineering to target and manipulate enterprises.
“Throughout 2016 we witnessed threat actors extort companies and organizations for the sake of profitability, and we don’t anticipate this trend slowing down. This research aims to educate enterprises on the threat tactics actively being used to compromise their data and help companies adopt strategies to stay one step ahead and protect against potential attacks,” Cabrera continued.
In 2016, Trend Micro and the Zero Day Initiative (ZDI) discovered 765 vulnerabilities, of which 678 were reported to ZDI via a bug bounty program.