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A lock screen from a cyber attack warns that data files have been encrypted on a laptop computer in this arranged photo.
Ransomware is the 21st century’s answer to extortion and the number of cyberattacks involving the malicious software is surging, according to the chief executive of McAfee.
“It is today’s modern-day extortion, and it’s something that criminals are going to continue to drive because they can make money, and that’s something that we’re very concerned about,” Christopher D. Young told CNBC on Tuesday.
Malware called “WannaCry” targeted a number of businesses, government entities and the U.K.’s National Health Service (NHS) in May 2017.
WannaCry is a form of ransomware. It blocks access to a user’s computer until a sum of money is paid to the attacker.
McAfee’s Young said that the cybersecurity industry was better equipped in 2018 to fight ransomware threats. He said that ransomware was a “constant game that we’re working against.”
“As an industry, we are stopping a lot more ransomware attacks today than we were in previous years, but the rate of growth in ransomware has been exponential,” he said.
“But we are better at spotting the attacks, we’re using behavioral tools to help us identify when a ransomware attack might be happening.”