Verizon agrees, ransomware is the most popular form of malware

It seems lately that nobody’s safe from malware attacks, and from our private data being hacked and made available to nefarious parties. One of the worst forms of malware is ransomware, which locks down a user’s data and holds it hostage for cash or Bitcoin. According to Verizon, ransomware is one of the fastest-growing forms of malware, a finding that confirms other similar reports.

Each year, Verizon looks at real-world incidents, assesses trends, and provides some insight into the kinds of attacks being experienced by a variety of different kinds of users. This year’s Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) looked at more than 53,000 incidents and 2,216 confirmed data breach cases in coming up with its conclusions.

According to the data, the majority of attacks — 76 percent, in fact — were conducted by cybercriminals with the intent of making money. That includes stealing data and using it to access banking and credit card accounts, selling the data on the open market, and conducting ransomware campaigns that generate cash directly. While nearly 73 percent of all attacks were made by individuals and groups outside of organizations, including 12 percent that was perpetrated by those with ties to nation-states, 28 percent of attacks originated from the inside.

Of all attacks, ransomware represented 39 percent of those where malware was implicated. The reason why ransomware is so prevalent is that it’s effective and relatively easy to implement. Tools exist that anyone can use to carry out a ransomware attack, and so a lack of technical expertise and resources isn’t the impediment that it is for other forms of attack. And, payment is direct and immediate, without the need to conduct secondary processes like selling stolen data.

Even so, roughly 17 percent of all data breaches were due to simple mistakes, such as incorrectly addressed emails, information that’s not shredded as it should be, and poorly configured web servers. In addition, up to four percent of all phishing targets — where an email will link to a bogus site that downloads malware or gathers personal information — click on phishing campaign email, which is still a significant number when such campaigns can target millions of potential victims.

Verizon recommends the same tactics as always. Its report focuses on organizations and so making sure users are educated, systems are patched, and adequate security systems are in place are the most important steps to take. For individuals, constant vigilance, good backups, and common sense remain good advice.


These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.

In 2019, laptops are better than ever. Here are the best of the best

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. Our picks for the best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while they're at it.

These are the 6 best -- and free -- antivirus apps to help protect your MacBook

Malware protection is more important than ever, even if you eschew Windows in favor of Apple's desktop platform. Thankfully, protecting your machine is as easy as choosing from the best free antivirus apps for Mac suites.

Can Xbox One overtake the PS4 in the home stretch of this generation?

In this comparison, we pit the Sony PlayStation 4 against Microsoft’s Xbox One in 10 categories, ranging from apps to controllers, to determine which system is truly worth your hard-earned money.

Tired of paying? Here are 4 ways to use Microsoft Office for free

Many of us need to use Office apps from time to time — but we may not want or need to pay for a constant subscription. Fortunately, there are ways to get those services without paying. Here's how to get Microsoft Office for free.

Dodge the biggest laptop-buying mistakes with these handy tips and tricks

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Windows 10 notifications driving you crazy? Here's how to get them under control

Are the notifications on Windows 10 annoying you? Here's our guide on how to turn off notifications in Windows, and how to manage alerts so that the important stuff still gets through.

A dead pixel doesn't mean a dead display. Here's how to repair it

Dead pixel got you down? We don't blame you. Check out our guide on how to fix a dead pixel and save yourself that costly screen replacement or an unwanted trip to your local repair shop.

Keep your laptop battery in tip-top condition with these handy tips

Learn how to care for your laptop's battery, how it works, and what you can do to make sure yours last for years and retains its charge. Check out our handy guide for valuable tips, no matter what type of laptop you have.

Now’s your chance to get the latest iPad Pro for $100 less on Amazon

The latest iPad Pro has always been our favorite since its release last year, and we even tagged it as the best tablet ever. Don’t miss out on Amazon’s discount on the 12-inch 256GB Wi-Fi model and get yours today for $1,049.

From Chromebooks to MacBooks, here are the best laptop deals for August 2019

Whether you need a new laptop for school or work, we have you covered. We've put together a list of the best laptop deals going right now, from discounted MacBooks to on-the-go gaming PCs.

Amazon cuts $52 off this Samsung Galaxy 10.1-inch tablet for the whole family

Normally priced at $330, you can grab the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1-inch 128GB Wi-Fi tablet now for only $278 and enjoy $52 savings. On top of that, Amazon is offering an extra $28 discount when you apply for a coupon during checkout.

Tired of choosing between Windows and Mac? Check out these Chromebooks instead

We've compiled a list of the best Chromebooks -- laptops that combine great battery life, comfortable keyboards, and the performance it takes to run Google's lightweight Chrome OS. From Samsung to Acer, these are the Chromebooks that really…

Tired of your Mac freezing? Try these tips to fix your Mac

A Mac that keeps freezing can be an incredibly annoying thing to deal with, but fixing it doesn’t have to be a pain. There are six main things you should try, which we got through in this guide to help you fix the issue once and for all.