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Europol's new report concludes ransomware is now the top cybercrime threat

Marie Spanswick - Thursday, October 06, 2016

Europol, the European police agency, has published a new report which says the threat from ransomware has now eclipsed all other forms of online theft.

In the Internet Organised Crime Threat Assessment for the year (IOCTA 2016), Europol said ransomware was "overshadowing traditional malware threats."

Ransomware usually works by encrypting the files on a victims' hard drives until they pay money demanded to unscramble the data. Criminals often demand payment in the electronic currency Bitcoin which is harder to trace.

Companies, hospitals, government agencies and even police forces around the world have become victim of this scam, which is usually spread through dodgy links or attachments.

Although, even more worrying, researchers have warned recently of a new, self-propagating version of ransomware which can spread without human interaction.

Download the Europol IOCTA 2016 here.

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