In malware, one can “follow the money” in evaluating the most popular attack methods designed.  Unfortunately highly destructive malware attacks can create business down time, permanent loss of data where items are not backed up, or payment of the ransom to get data back again.

Ransomware is the fastest growing malware across industries, up 50% in 2016, compared to 2015, according to new data from endpoint security provider Carbon Black. Criminal use of malicious software to encrypt files or hard drives of unsuspecting victims is so widespread that some states are enacting legislation to make recent ransomware attacks easier to prosecute. In September, California became the latest state to offer specific anti-extortion guidelines to prosecute criminals who demand ransoms, usually in bitcoins, to unlock victims’ systems. But even with the rise in recent ransomware attacks, these viruses represent only a small percentage of total malware.

Malware continued to target all industries in 2016, with manufacturing companies (21.8%), non-profit organizations (16.4%) and utilities and energy (15.6%) hardest hit, according to Carbon Black, which based its findings on data from more than 1,000 organizations, representing 2.5 million endpoints. Of the dozen or more malware families tracked, Locky, which was used in one of four recent ransomware attacks, accounted for 2.17% of total malware.