Israel found to be the main source of ransomware samples, research reveals.

In a new report commissioned by Google, it was discovered that the UK has been ranked number 10 on the list of countries worst affected by ransomware. 

The report studied ransomware samples from over 140 countries submitted to Google Cloud subsidiary VirusTotal, and found that the UK now faces a number of ransomware strains found in China, India, South Korea, Kazakhstan, the Philippines, and Iran. 

Israel was discovered to be the main source of ransomware samples, having submitted six times more samples than the baseline since research commenced in January 2020. 

At least 130 different active ransomware families were identified, with the GandCrab ransomware-as-a-service platform being the most popular submission. GandCrab was also found to be “the most active family in early 2020, before its prevalence decreased dramatically in the second half of the year.”

Babuk and Ceberer were the second and third most active ransomware families, with VirusTotal identifying an increase of Babuk activity around July 2020 - a period of time when the strain returned to target corporate networks.

Windows was the main focus of cyber criminals - accounting for 95% of the ransomware targets, compared to only 2% for Android. 

VirusTotal has recommended organisations to ensure that their patching strategy priorities all Windows and SMB privilege escalation vulnerabilities, and well as looking out for any new waves of ransomware activity.