Ransomware, Symantec Threat Report

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a malicious malware attack in which a skilled hacker seizes its victim’s files in exchange for a sum of money. The hackers hold its victim’s files hostage until the ransom is paid in full.

Extortion on the Rise

The most common form of Ransomware is executed via crypto-ransomware which offers its victims a key to decrypt their stolen while after the ransom has been paid. Each ransom generally range between $300-500. Shockingly, 30% of ransomware victims pay the ransom in order to regain access to their files (Simon, 2015). Ransom notes are normally set so low that the victim normally just pays so they can return to work. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all files will be retrieved.

The ransom is most commonly paid in bitcoin for payments are difficult to track.

The most common devices that have been reported of ransomware are Android devices. Devices running Windows have been commonly known to fall victim to this attack although other operating devices are not 100% in the clear. Symantec has seen an increase in various versions of this malware has been created for other operating systems.

Which Industries are most commonly affected?

  • Healthcare
    • Hospitals house vital information about their patients making them a prime target.
    • The Symantec Threat Report makes note that 45 more people had their devices held hostage in 2014, making ransomware attacks grow by 113 percent!
  • Small Businesses
    • Small business are more vulnerable to malware attacks for they lack the proper web and email security solutions to ward off hacks.
    • Between June 2013 and March 2014, 2,275 ransomware complaints were filed, totaling $1.1 Million in losses (Simon, 2015).


Simon, Ruth. " 'Ransomware' a Growing Threat to Small Businesses." WSJ. The Wall Street Journal, 15 Apr. 2015. Web. 16 May 2016.