Ransomware attacks are increasingly targeting businesses, which accounted for just over 40 percent of cases recorded by security software firm Symantec in the first half of 2017.
Of the 319,000 ransomware infections detected, companies accounted for 134,000. At the current rate, 2017 could see last year’s 470,000 attacks, Symantec said.
“Contributing to this increase was a spike in blocked infections during May and June 2017, the months when the WannaCry and Petya outbreaks occurred,” Symantec analyst Dick O’Brien said in a report released on Wednesday.
Ransomware attacks, if successful, locks down infected computers until users pay off the perpetrators, usually in virtual currencies such as bitcoin.
“The main threat posed by ransomware was from widescale malicious spam campaigns, capable of sending ransomware to millions of email addresses on a daily basis, in addition to a growing number of targeted attacks directed at organizations,” O’Brien said.
“Ransomware is now one of the key cyber threats facing organizations and can have a major impact on their bottom line, from financial losses, disruption, and reputational damages,” he added.
The Symantec report cited companies that were affected by the ransomware attacks such as Danish shipping AP Moller-Maersk, which announced the Petya incident would cost it up to $300 million in lost revenues, and German personal care company Beiersdorf which said the attack had impacted its half-year results due to production and shipping delays.