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Report: Ransomware Becoming a Growing Threat

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Study finds ransomware becoming more widespread

Ransomware is becoming a growing problem, and most notably is becoming increasingly prevalent in phishing email attacks, a U.S. tech security firm pointed out in a recent report.

PhishMe, an American information security company, recently released its Q1 2016 Malware Report, which revealed that 93 percent of all email phishing attacks that they detected across the globe in March 2016 (the most recent month studied) involved the use ransomware, while the remaining 7 percent contained malware.

Digging a little deeper, the way in which ransomware is being introduced is getting increasing complex. According to the report, approximately 50 percent of all malware analyses that the firm conducted in March 2016 involved the use of encryption ransomware.

This represents a large increase in the use of encryption ransomware, PhishMe stated, and the complex makeup of the ransomware can potentially increase the moneymaking potential for hackers introducing the infections.

Ransomware: a type of computer virus or malware that restricts access to the infected computer system and then demands that the owner of the infected system pay a ransom to regain access to the restricted files.

Huge observed spike in phishing attacks

Along with big increases in the use of ransomware and encryption technologies associated with the ransomware, PhishMe also found a big spike in overall phishing emails sent in Q1 2016.

The first quarter analysis revealed a huge 789 percent spike in global phishing emails in a relatively short amount of time -- from the fourth quarter of 2015 to Q1 2016. This is nearly a increase 8-to-1 increase in a tiny quarter-over-quarter time range.

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Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.