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Locked out: The Ransomware attacks that cost businesses billions

The Wannacry ransomware which is famous for attacking the UK National Health Service (NHS) is the most searched ransomware attack.

As Covid cases rose, so did hospital hacks in France
Separate ransomware attacks have knocked out computer systems in more than half a dozen French hospitals, forcing them to return to using pen and paper - Copyright AFP Philippe DESMAZES
Separate ransomware attacks have knocked out computer systems in more than half a dozen French hospitals, forcing them to return to using pen and paper - Copyright AFP Philippe DESMAZES

With ransomware predicted to cost businesses over $265 billion worldwide by 2031, it is prudent for businesses to be aware of the types of ransomware attacks that are of the highest concerns right now.

A recent review of search engine data, run by Firewall Technical, has highlighted the extent of these concerns. The search terms included: ransomware_name + ransomware (ryuk ransomware), ransomware_name + removal (ryuk removal), ransomware_name + decryptor and what is ransomware_name.

A spokesperson from Firewall Technical tells Digital Journal: “Ransomware attacks can bankrupt a small business even if you manage to recover the data afterwards.”

The study was carried out using search engine data from the last three months from search engine tools Ahrefs, Google Keyword Planner and KWFinder. This data was then analysed and ranked according to the combined number of searches across all key terms. This data was then ranked.

The study also looked at which cities in the UK were cybersecurity conscious, along with states in the USA. Searches for information on Malware, Ransomware and anti-virus software companies such as AVG, Norton, Bit Defender and Kaspersky were looked at.

This data was then analysed and then ranked to see which ransomware attacks were the most popular worldwide, along with the cities and states that took cyber security the most serious.

Key findings were:

  • The Wannacry ransomware which is famous for attacking the UK National Health Service (NHS) is the most searched ransomware attack. With 6830 related searches every month, the ransomware which was first released in 2017 is still causing problems worldwide.
  • Ryuk ransomware which is attributed to the hacker group Wizard Spider was the second most searched for ransomware attack. With more people looking for “What is Ryuk” worldwide than any other ransomware.
  • The third most popular ransomware in the study is Petya, with 1900 searches per month.
  • Fair, SimpleLocker and ZCryptor were the ransomware attacks that had the least search volume worldwide indicating that these attacks are less common.

In terms of geographical areas, Northampton, Milton Keynes, Norwich, Swindon and Newcastle upon Tyne were the cities in the UK searching for protection against malware and viruses the most per 100,000 population. In contrast, Bradford, Birkenhead, Newport, Manchester and Brent were the least worried about cybercrime.

In the USA, Virginia, Maryland, Washington, Oregon and New Hampshire were the states most concerned with cyberattacks. Kentucky, Alabama, South Dakota, Louisiana and Mississippi were the least concerned.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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