In May 2017, a massive ransomware virus attack spread to the computer systems of hundreds of private companies and public organisations across the globe. The software locked computers and asked for a digital ransom before control is safely returned. In just a few hours, the malware had already infected victims in at least 84 countries and was estimated to be spreading at a rate of five million emails per hour. Hospitals and doctors’ surgeries in England were forced to turn away patients and cancel appointments after the attack crippled the NHS.

The WannaCry virus targeted Microsoft’s widely used Windows operating system.

The virus encrypts certain files on the computer and then blackmails the user for money in exchange for access to the files.

It leaves the user with only two files: Instructions on what to do next and the Wanna Decryptor program itself.

The hackers asked for payments of around £230 ($300) in Bitcoin.

The WannaCry virus targeted Microsoft’s widely used Windows operating system.

When opened the software tells users that their files have been encrypted and gives them a few days to pay up or their files will be deleted.

It can quickly spread through an entire network of computers in a business or hospital, encrypting files on every PC.


Malware: malicious software designed to damage IT systems has grown across the world by more than a fifth, with 10 billion recorded attacks last year.

Ransomware: People and Businesses can be taken hostage by malware that locks up critical systems and resources.

Re-solution team have conducted a study that shows that since 2015 corporate awareness of digital crime and/or ransomware has dramatically increased but business owners, employees and users need more help as techniques used by cybercriminals evolve and methods become more sophisticated. 35 per cent increase in encrypted threats hitting the UK small, medium and large businesses in 2018 compared to 2017, this is clearly cyberwar.

Ransomware makes it near-impossible to regain control of data stored on affected IT systems and devices unless a ransom is paid, which is naturally hugely disruptive to businesses.

Let’s list out some of the easy profits that ransomware provides to criminals that use it:

  • Most profitable malware in history
  • Lucrative: Direct payment to attackers!
  • Markets and Markets predict ransomware will be a $17 billion business by 2021
  • A relatively new development in this criminal industry is RaaS:
    • No coding skills needed by the attacker
    • Developer receives a monthly payment and/or a percentage of profits
  • It’s not about just the ransom any longer, criminals use ransomware to distract the company while they spread through the network and steal information

Ransomware is a problem that will continue to grow and impact more organisations, it is the most profitable malware ever seen!

Concerned about your IT security? Have any questions? Get in touch with us…

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