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Internet of Things ransomware on the rise

Cyber criminals are set to turn their attention to developing ransomware for connected devices, the UK’s top cyber crime experts have warned.

A new joint report by the National Crime Agency and National Cyber Security Centre forecasts a rise in ransomware targeting devices like fitness trackers and televisions.

This type of malware, which has dramatically increased in prevalence on computers, smartphones and tablets in recent years, locks its victims’ devices and demands a payment - usually in Bitcoin - to restore access to their data.

‘Ransomware on connected watches, fitness trackers and TVs will present a challenge to manufacturers, and it is not yet known whether customer support will extend to assisting with unlocking devices and providing advice on whether to pay a ransom,’ the NCA and NCSC’s report said.

Opportunities to exploit connected devices are only set to grow, with some experts estimating that 21 billion devices will be connected to the Internet of Things by 2020.

The report also warned that cyber criminals are imitating nation state attacks, and called for better collaboration between businesses, the government and the police.

‘Cyber attacks will continue to evolve, which is why the country must work together at pace to deliver hard outcomes and groundbreaking innovation to reduce the cyber threat to critical services and deter would-be attackers,’ said NCSC CEO Ciaran Martin.

‘No single organisation can defend against the threat on its own and it is vital that we work together to understand the challenges we face.

‘We can only properly protect UK cyberspace by working with others with the rest of government, with law enforcement, the armed forces, our international allies and, crucially, with business and wider society.’


Photo copyright GeorgeRudy under licence from Thinkstockphotos.co.uk

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