We analyzed 80 million ransomware samples – here’s what we learned

Leaders at organizations across the globe are witnessing the alarming rise of ransomware threats, leaving them with the sobering thought that an attack on their business may be not a matter of if, but when.

The stakes are becoming higher. Hackers aren’t just demanding money, they’re threatening to reveal sensitive or valuable information if companies don’t pay up or if they contact law enforcement authorities. For example, if you run a healthcare organization, the impact can be even more dire – as evidenced by this new report on ransomware attacks that finds attacks against hospitals have resulted in delays in tests and procedures, patients being kept longer, and even death.

One of the main challenges to stopping ransomware attacks is the lack of comprehensive visibility into how these attacks spread and evolve. Leaders are often left with bits and pieces of information that don’t add up.

VirusTotal’s first Ransomware Activity Report provides a holistic view of ransomware attacks by combining more than 80 million potential ransomware-related samples submitted over the last year and a half. This report is designed to help researchers, security practitioners and the general public understand the nature of ransomware attacks while enabling cyber professionals to better analyze suspicious files, URLs, domains and IP addresses. Sharing insights behind how attacks develop is essential to anticipating their evolution and detecting cybersecurity threats across the globe.

Of the 140 countries that submitted ransomware samples, Israel was far and away an outlier, with the highest number of submissions and nearly a 600 percent increase in the number of submissions compared to its baseline. Israel was followed by South Korea, Vietnam, China, Singapore, India, Kazakhstan, Philippines, Iran and the UK as the most affected territories based on the number of submissions to VirusTotal.


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