back to article Ransomware scams cost Brits £4.5m per year

More than 4,000 Brits have had their computers infected with ransomware this year, with over £4.5m paid out to cyber criminals, according to Action Fraud. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts files of infected PCs before demanding an extortionate payment for the encryption key needed to recover data. The malware …

  1. groovyf

    Watched the piece about this on BBC Breakfast this morning... The closing comment by an affected (home) user was... "make sure your protection is up-to-date". I was disappointed that at no point did anyone mention backing-up personal data just in case such things happen and all your personal docs are encrypted.

    Reinstalling Windows (presumably the OS of choice) and copying data from a backup is a lot cheaper than shelling-out to Ransomware chumps.

    I appreciate that maybe your average Home User might not know how to re-install Windows, but don't new computers at least come with a small leaflet detailing how to restore a computer/laptop to factory settings via a hidden Restore partition?

    1. Electron Shepherd

      The other, and even more important piece of advice which is almost always neglected is to use a backup solution that is physically disconnected from the computer except when backing up. Backing up to a permanently connected external hard drive is great protection against a hardware failure of the primary disk, but useless against a ransomware infection, which will just encrypt the backup drive too.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "The other, and even more important piece of advice which is almost always neglected is to use a backup solution that is physically disconnected from the computer except when backing up."

        And don't go around opening mail or browsing online whilst the backup device is connected.

    2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Around 9AM they had an "expert" in who states backups were something that should be done at least daily or weekly on the very least cloud but recommended a local non attached storage device.

      That person was also stated no protection can prevent everything.

      However where is the mention of AV companies have tools to decrypt, the guy who lost 11 years of files really did give some horrendous advise.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        "the guy who lost 11 years of files really did give some horrendous advise."

        I doubt any advice from someone who lost 11 years of files would be anything but horrendous.

        1. tfewster Silver badge
          Facepalm

          "I doubt any advice from someone who lost 11 years of files would be anything but horrendous."

          Be nice. He'd been infected by ransomware twice and not learned anything after the first time. He was there as an object lesson, not an expert.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      'The closing comment by an affected (home) user was... "make sure your protection is up-to-date".'

      Did they point out that the most effective part of that protection lies between the ears?

  2. The Serpent

    The other moral of the story is, get a second opinion

  3. Electron Shepherd

    Lies, dammed lies and ... etc

    nearly 40 per cent of businesses had experienced a ransomware attack in the previous year. Of these victims, more than a third had lost revenue and 20 per cent had to stop business completely.

    So, either 8 percent of all businesses that were trading in the last year went out of business due to ransomware, or Malwarebytes have very carefully cherry-picked their sample.

    Since Malwarebytes is a "security software firm", I wonder which it is?

    1. Paul 129

      Re: Lies, dammed lies and ... etc

      Does sound bad overblown.

      Then again after helping a small business unprepared for a ransomware hit, who had a new eager employee.... It can be ugly.

    2. CustardGannet

      Re: Lies, dammed lies and ... etc

      My interpretation is "had to temporarily stop business completely".

      As you say, if 1-in-12 firms in the UK had been closed down due to ransomware*, I'm sure we'd be hearing a lot more about it on MSM !

      (*rather than the 1-in-12 firms in the UK which already have been closed due to the international banking sector being a bunch of lungheads who couldn't run a bath.)

  4. Paul Crawford Silver badge

    And how many users lost data due to failed or lost/stolen machines in the same period?

    Off site backup, off site backup,...

  5. mwnci

    £4.5m a year? So that's significantly less than a 20p per head of population.....Really not seeing this as a massive concern compared to say the quoted amount of Total Cyber Crime of £1,079,447,765 that Action Fraud and GSO quoted in July 2016.

    Even as a percentage of the total, Ransomeware is quite low...Its increasing, no doubt but is it really that huge an issue and are we getting overblown about it? Still commuters in San Francisco got a free ride to work to day, so every cloud has a silver lining....

    1. John H Woods

      "£4.5m a year? So that's significantly less than a 20p per head of population"

      And you've only got one chance in a hundred thousand of being murdered, so I suppose you don't see that as a massive concern, either?

      "Still commuters in San Francisco got a free ride to work to day, so every cloud has a silver lining...."

      No, the SF company will simply bring their next price increase forward a bit, it'll be the customers that pay the ransomers --- who else?

  6. Blitheringeejit
    Boffin

    £4.5m per year eh? But read this first!!

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/11/25/bofh_2016_episode_14/

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