Microsoft recently came out with its Security Intelligence Report which highlighted a global increase in ransomware. The researchers discovered 71 new families of ransomware in the first half of 2017; the number of new ransomware families in the first half of 2016 was 64.
A number of ransomware families used new techniques while some have improved their techniques. The most commonly encountered ransomware family in the first quarter was Cerber, however, it gave way to Spora in the month of March. According to the report, Spora “Spora encrypts files with several popular extensions, including .doc, .docx, .jpg, .pdf, .xls, .xlsx, and .zip. It avoids encrypting files in the Games, Program Files (x86), Program Files, and Windows folders. Early versions of Spora targeted Russian speakers, although English language
versions have also been seen.”
The report also highlighted that Consumer and Enterprise Microsoft accounts are under more threat than ever. The company’s Identity Security and Protection team saw a 300 percent increase in user accounts attacked over the past year. The company said most of the breaches are the result of “weak, guessable passwords and poor password management, followed by targeted phishing attacks and breaches of third-party services.”
Security Intelligence Report also featured global ransomware outbreaks WannaCry and Petya that wreaked havoc earlier this year. “WannaCrypt and Petya defied the trend of more targeted and localized attacks and became the first global malware attacks in quite a while. They generated worldwide mainstream interest. Interestingly, this attention might have added more challenges for attackers.“