Cyber criminals are now utilising ransomware at an ‘alarming’ level, according to new findings from security researchers.

There are now more than 120 separate families of ransomware identified with researchers seeing a 3,500% increase in the criminal use of net infrastructure that helps run ransomware campaigns.

Commenting on the findings, James Maude, senior security engineer at Avecto said that attackers are increasingly using ranswomware to target the business community with more lucrative returns:

"As individual users grow increasingly aware of common cyber threats we see a shift in the attack patterns. Home users are not as susceptible to attacks as they once were, with many being a victim themselves, or knowing someone who’s been breached.

"Rather than invest more effort in exploiting increasingly savvy users for low returns, cyber criminals now target enterprises – we have seen this recently with large organisations paying out thousands of dollars to retrieve data which has been encrypted by cyber criminals.

“By combining sandboxing technology with privilege management solutions and good staff security training, companies can ensure that online threats are isolated from the corporate system. People don’t have unnecessary access to sensitive data and all employees are more aware of what malicious activity looks like, therefore minimising the likelihood of a successful ransomware attack.”