London Under Massive Ransomware Attacks


London is the financial hub of the United Kingdom and nobody can deny this fact. So when it is suggested that employees working in London are at a greater risk of receiving ransomware then it is definitely something to be alarmed about.

Malwarebytes researchers’ analysis of London’s Square Mile, which is home to a significant number of financial service companies and other businesses, revealed that the city was hit more times than many other countries, including Sweden, Malaysia and Hungary.

Malwarebytes, has identified that people working in London city are continuously being targeted by a new kind of attack, which takes the files stored on the computer as a hostage and one has to pay ransom for getting the data back.

Malwarebytes data science analyst Nima Samadi told IBTimes UK: “When analysing the data it gave us an interesting snapshot into a growing problem facing companies.

These nefarious threats, which essentially demand money with menaces, are becoming a real problem for big business – encrypting company files for ever unless the ransom is paid. It is a modern day protection racket.

“Given that only 7,000 people live in the City of London, but hundreds of thousands commute there every day, it is not a great leap to assume these attacks involved compromised work systems.

With over 80m square ft of office space in just 1.1 miles – that is a hugely tempting target for the bad guys.”

In August, Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski told Business Insider in an interview that banks had begun stockpiling bitcoins, in the event that they were hit by a ransomware attack.

“I talked to a couple of banks and they say they have 50-100 bitcoin ready at all times in a wallet to deploy if a ransomware attack hits,” he said.

Researchers were able to identify the top 10 ransomware campaigns targeting people in the UK. The File Cryptor ransomware was found to be the most common, closely followed by File Locker.

Trojan Ransom, Cryptowall and TeslaCrypt were among the other top campaigns identified.

It is called ransomware, which is no different than malware but it has the capability of locking up the data stored on a computer.

The attackers then communicate with the victim to receive cash in exchange of the data. The ransom is usually asked to be paid in bitcoins and the files are kept encrypted so that the victim is unable to access them without paying the ransom.

Once the ransom has been paid, the attacker sends the user decryption key to unlock the data.

Malwarebytes stated that London city workers, in particular, are the main targets of such attacks involving ransomware than any other location in Europe. The reason could be that London is the most important financial center in Europe.

In a talk with Business Insider, Marcin Kleczynski, CEO at Malwarebytes, stated that the situation is so tense that banks are piling up on bitcoins to be prepared in case of a ransomware attack. He added that:

“I talked to a couple of banks and they say they have 50-100 bitcoin ready at all times in a wallet to deploy if a ransomware attack hits.”

The cyber-security firm spent over a year to monitor the threats hovering over different cities in Europe by analyzing which of the destinations received maximum attacks or threats. It was discovered that London received 10,500 ransomware attacks.

The alarming fact is that this figure is 670% higher than that of the second largest receiver of ransomware attacks on their list, which is Manchester.

Watch what is ransomware and how can I protect myself?


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