Ransomware has proliferated because it's 'largely uncontested', says GCHQ boss

GCHQ director Sir Jeremy Fleming.

Image: Getty

If you’ve wondered why ransomware has proliferated in recent years, it’s because until recently it has remained unchallenged, according to Sir Jeremy Fleming, director of British signals intelligence agency GCHQ.

“We’ve seen twice as many [ransomware] attacks this year as last year in the UK – but the reason it is proliferating is because it works,” Fleming told the US Cipher Brief threat conference.

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“It just pays. Criminals are making very good money from it and are often feeling that that’s largely uncontested…we’ve got to get our head around what this means and we have up until quite recently left a lot of this playing space to those criminal actors in effect to proliferate and to make a lot of money.”

SEE: Ransomware: Industrial services top the hit list – but cyber criminals are diversifying

Last month, the UK launched the National Cyber Force (NCF), a group with offensive capabilities that unites personnel from the Ministry of Defence (MoD), GCHQ, the Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL).

Despite its cyber-offensive capabilities, referring to the NCF, Fleming insisted that “the UK is not building a cyber warfare

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