Ransomware topped almost all other types of cybercrimes on the internet so far this year, with attacks like WannaCry impacting scores of computers.
According to news from Reuters, those findings come by way of Europol, the European policing agency, which said Wednesday (Sept. 27) that it had successfully coordinated cross-border fights against data hackers in 2016. However, the agency emphasized that national authorities need to put more resources toward targeting and stopping hackers from developing those tools in the first place.
“The last year has been exceptional, given the size and the type and the range of the attacks that we’ve seen,” Europol Director Rob Wainwright said while outlining its yearly review of internet crimes, reported Reuters. “Growing sophistication in the cybercrime community,” in which criminals join forces to provide “cybercrime services,” has become a big growth engine for criminals trying to make a profit from their hacks.
What’s more, ransomware “has eclipsed most other cyber threats,” with that form of data hack impacting individuals and companies all over the world and across all types of industries — be it the private or public sectors — as it was with the WannaCry incident earlier this year.
Reuters noted that Europol said it is creating a special unit to fight back against so-called dark web operations, in which credit card data is sold on the dark web. With ransomware cyberattacks raging, companies and individuals have paid out more than $25 million during the course of the last two years in an effort to get their data back from hackers.
Those figures come courtesy of the latest research from Google, which shows the costs associated with this type of ransomware hack, in which the bad guys infiltrate a computer and lock up the data, holding it for a ransom. The victims are usually forced to pay via cryptocurrency to get their data back. They usually only have a small timeframe to do so.