A cybersecurity company is warning customers about a growing number of ransomware attacks that target consumer electronics.
The cybersecurity company, Digital Forensic Intelligence, says the growing number, particularly targeting smart home appliances, have become a major problem for the electronics industry.
Ransomware is a type of malware that steals the data of an infected computer or device and encrypts it using a key.
That key is then passed to an attacker to unlock the data, which can be used to unlock other devices or even steal credit card numbers.
Digital Forensic Intelligence has been tracking these ransomware attacks for several months.
Its chief executive, Alex Wessel, says they are “the most sophisticated attacks we’ve seen.”
“They are targeting the smart home, the smart refrigerator, the air conditioner, everything,” Wessel said in a recent interview with Reuters.
“And if you look at their targets, the most common ones are the smart thermostats, the water heaters, the washing machines, the light bulbs, the video game consoles.
They’re targeting everything, and it’s really an issue for the consumer electronics industry.”
Digital Forensic said it’s seeing more ransomware attacks targeting homes and businesses.
For instance, the company says its analysis of more than 4 million ransomware attacks has shown a dramatic increase in recent months.
It says more than 3,000 attacks have been linked to the smart meters, the lighting in your home, and other household devices.
“In the last three months, we’ve had a lot of cases in our research where smart meters have been targeted,” Wesself said.
“And I think that’s been driven by the fact that the attacks were targeting the most sophisticated devices, and that’s what we’re seeing more and more of.”
Wessel says his company has seen an increase in ransomware attacks because “we’ve noticed that the number of new ransomware infections in the past couple of months has increased significantly.
The number of infections that we’ve found so far this year are up by about 40 percent compared to the year before.”
The increase in attacks has also been driven in part by the ransomware, which is now targeting smart devices, as well as smart appliances.
Wessel says a new ransomware variant called CryptoLocker has been found targeting appliances and other smart devices in recent weeks.
He says that is a “significant increase” in infections.
Digital forensic says it’s not certain what caused the uptick in attacks.
Wesslf says he doesn’t know how the ransomware attacks started and how many people have been affected.
The company has been working to figure that out.
“We are aware of a couple of different ways that ransomware may be spreading, but there are probably more, and we will continue to monitor it,” Wesson said.
He said he doesn of course think there is a connection between the rising number of attacks and the recent increase in government cybersecurity efforts.
“I think it’s a combination of a lot more smart devices being infected, and a lot fewer people taking measures to protect themselves,” Wedding said.