Panda Security Guide Helps Businesses Avoid Cyber-Extortion

The report defines cyber extortion as a form of blackmail in which victims of an IT attack are forced to pay to avoid its effects.

panda and malware

Security specialist Panda released its Practical Security Guide to Prevent Cyber Extortion, in which it found that European organizations suffer the highest number of sensitive data thefts.

To avoid becoming a victim of cyber-extortion, organizations need a combination of security technology, company policy and training, the guide claims.

Cyber-extortion is a form of blackmail in which victims of an IT attack are forced to pay to avoid its effects.

One of the most widespread methods of cyber-extortion is ransomware. This attack encrypts the victim's information and then demands a ransom in order for the information to be decrypted and returned.

The report offers five tips for avoiding cyber-extortion, which include keeping users up to date with good practice, current security risks and con techniques, as well as setting up rules for Internet use at work, such as assigning a series of rules that control the reputation of Websites that access is granted to.

The report also recommends implementing a security solution for the businesses' needs, like making sure companies have the right solution according to their infrastructure and requirements.

Finally, the report suggests establishing protocols such as control installation and running of software and also checking which applications have been installed on a regular basis, and setting up an update policy and blocking certain applications on company computers.

Panda also warned that cyber-extortion occurs through a variety of threat vectors, with 39 percent coming from insecure or fraudulent Websites, 23 percent from programs downloaded from the Internet and 19 percent from infected emails.

The report recommends that businesses make security copies of critical files every so often. Should a business have a recent backup of its important documents, Panda advises scanning these for any remnants of malware before restoring them.

In January, the company released its annual cyber-threat report, which revealed that 230,000 new malware samples are produced daily.

Last year also saw the greatest number of cyber-attacks recorded around the world, with a total of 304 million samples, which means that more than a quarter of all malware samples ever recorded were produced in 2015—nearly 28 percent.

Trojans continued to be the main source of malware (51 percent), comfortably positioned ahead of the rest of the collected samples: viruses (23 percent), worms (13 percent), PUPs (11 percent) and spyware (2 percent).

Among all types of malware that cause large infections worldwide, Trojans had the greatest rate of infection (60 percent), albeit down 5 percent from 2014.