A study published by cyber security firm Proofpoint shows an increase in recent months in the number of email-based phishing attacks used to deliver ransomware.

According to the report, the early stages of ransomware deployment are on the rise and are primarily targeting the United States, France, Germany, Greece and Italy.

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The attacks appear to be taking advantage of the influx of people now working from home in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Research also indicates that ransom demands are very low compared to the exorbitant amounts generally demanded in these attacks.

Lower than usual rescues
A ransomware application called „Mr. Robot“, was primarily targeted at individuals and companies in the United States in the past. However, results suggest that this has changed in recent months, and home users have become the main victims of this type of attack. To reflect the new use case for this software, ransom demands have dropped to USD 100 in Bitcoin (BTC).

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A ransomware known as, Avaddon, distributed over a million messages in a single week. It’s also known to target American businesses and individuals.

„24/7 assistance“ provided by Avaddon hackers

The hackers behind Avaddon often demand ransom amounts of $800 in crypto currencies such as Bitcoin. Interestingly, this particular team offers a „24/7 assistance“ service to their victims, giving them advice on how to pay the ransom and how crypto currencies work.

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In recent days, cyber security firm Symantec blocked a ransomware attack targeting 30 U.S.-based companies and companies in the top 500 of capital open to any investor.