The rise of Ransomware and the threat it poses to businesses
Back in 2012, a major ransomware Trojan began terrorising computers across the world. Known as Reveton, this Trojan virus would lock a computer and request that a sum is paid immediately to unlock the computer. What made this gambit so effective was the granular details – the message that a user would receive varied on location and behaviour, variants in the United Kingdom contained the branding of the Metropolitan Police Service and some messages had PRS (Performing Right Society) logos enforcing the virus on users, accusing them of illegally downloading music and they had breached copyright laws.
Flash forward to 2016 and ransomware has become more sophisticated in the form of mobile device targeting, roughly one in seven mobile devices in the United Kingdom has been affected by a form of ransomware at some point however there is currently little gain to be had from attacking mobile devices as its cheaper to repair the phone than to pay the ransom.
The growing concern remains, will attackers look to enterprises to try and turn a profit and how can an enterprise protect themselves from a costly business disruption such as ransomware?
Fully encrypted IT systems with backup facilities are essential parts of digital enterprise security, however, complimenting security with machine-learning technology can help a business stay ahead of the game – machine learning technology can identify unique ransomware and alert security agents.
Tools to influence and potentially spread digital propaganda will continue to rise
In the United States, 35% of people 18 to 29 years old out of 3760 adults said that social media was the most helpful source of information on the 2016 presidential election. With the accusations that emerged of Facebook’s inability to clamp down on the fake news which some speculate influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election and fake news engagement overtaking mainstream engagement. At the end of 2016, roughly 40% of the world’s population will have the internet compared to 1995, when it was less than 1% – it’s hard to predict how uncredited news will affect the masses in 2017 but with France and Germany holding general elections with nationalist leaders in the spotlight (Marine Le Pen and Frauke Petry respectively) we could see more reports and research linking the likelihood of fake news influencing decisions.
Social media can be a powerful tool for campaigning, (we all remember what happened at Christmas back in 2009). Making sure that awareness is raised for fake news articles around the times of significant events is the only thing we can do without moderating or governing the internet.