Sophos sees increased ransomware attacks on non-Windows systems

This year WannaCry has accounted for 45.3 per cent of all ransomware tracked by Sophos

Security vendor Sophos says that malware attacks on MacOS, Android and non-Android Linux systems are on the rise.

“The majority of ransomware attacks have targeted Windows users, but the number of attacks against other platforms is increasing, including those targeting Android, Macs and Linux,” states the vendor’s latest Malware Forecast (PDF).  

Sophos said it witnessed four key trends in 2017 that are likely to dominate in 2018:  

• A surge in ransomware attacks fueled by ransomware as a service;

• Massive growth in malware targeting the Android mobile platform;

• Continued attacks on MacOS; and

• Ongoing attacks targeting Windows systems, fueled in particular by “do-it-yourself exploit kits that make it easy to target Microsoft Office vulnerabilities”.  

“Ransomware has become platform-agnostic,” SophosLabs security researcher Dorka Palotay said. “Ransomware mostly targets Windows computers, but this year, SophosLabs saw an increased amount of crypto-attacks on different devices and operating systems used by our customers worldwide  

In 2017, NotPetya, WannaCry and BadRabbit all grabbed headlines around the world.  

The new data from Sophos reveals that in 2017 WannaCry accounted for 45.3 per cent of all ransomware tracked by the company.

“For the first time we saw ransomware with worm-like characteristics, which contributed to the rapid expansion of WannaCry. This ransomware took advantage of a known Windows vulnerability to infect and spread to computers, making it hard to control,” Palotay said.

“Even though our customers are protected against it and WannaCry has tapered off, we still see the threat because of its inherent nature to keep scanning and attacking computers. We’re expecting cyber criminals to build upon this ability to replicate seen in WannaCry and NotPetya, and this is already evident with Bad Rabbit ransomware, which shows many similarities to NotPetya.” 


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