Ransomware payments are expected to reach $1 billion in 2016, according to NBC News, citing figures from the FBI. That’s up from $24 million in 2015.
The average ransom demanded last year also went up, from about $295 at the end of 2015 to $679 is 2016, according to a report from Symantec. "People are willing to pay, so the bad guys keep raising the price," said Kevin Haley, director of Symantec Security Response. "We'll probably see it hit a thousand dollars before 2017 is over."
Mobile devices may soon be vulnerable to ransomware too. Symantec reportedly discovered ransomware called "Flocker" that can lock Android smart TVs.
Ransomware is easy to deploy and has a high ROI, so criminals are flocking to it. And, criminals can purchase ransomware kits and start pumping ransomware out almost immediately, providing very few barriers to entry. All this means ransomware is likely to continue growing, and businesses must be vigilant to prevent becoming victims.
Despite increased warnings, businesses still appear willing to pay once they fall victim to a ransomware scheme. A recent IBM survey found 70% of businesses infected with ransomware forked over money to recover their data.
There’s no good perfect way to prevent ransomware yet. Instead, regular data backups remain the best protections to date.