With the large number of ransomware attacks that have surfaced in recent years, many people have mistakenly believed that it’s a new threat, and one that is impossible, or at least very difficult to prevent.
Yes, ransomware is a significant problem, and one that has grown rapidly during recent years. But it is not new, nor is it unstoppable. Ransomware has been around since at least 1989, and has been thoroughly studied since that time.
As part of this research, my colleagues and I conducted a study (note: link opens a PDF in a new window) where we analyzed 1,359 ransomware samples from 15 different families. These samples came from multiple sources, including manual and automatic crawling of public malware repositories, and from Lastline’s Global Threat Intelligence Network. All in all, the dataset included the majority of all ransomware observed in the wild at the time.