McAfee Labs has released a new report that highlights the growing attacks by ransomware.

The number of ransomware cases reduced in 2014 when enforcement agencies across the globe targeted the malware. However, the McAfee Labs report suggests that ransomware cases increased by 165 percent during the first three months of 2015.

With ransomware, cyber attackers can restrict access to a computer system. The user of the computer is asked a ransom by the creators of the malware to get back access. Victims faced extortion demands of between $150 and $500.

The McAfee Labs report suggests that extortion schemes via malware such as ransomware increased two-fold in the first three months of this year. The report also suggests that cyber attacks on game sites and Adobe Flash software that is used for streaming media also increased in the same period.

Malware in Adobe Flash increased by 317 percent in the first quarter of 2015. The report suggests that Adobe Flash's popularity, the delay in applying for patches, increase in the number of devices that use Adobe Flash and difficulty in identifying the exploits in Adobe Flash were some of the key factors that led to malware increase in Adobe Flash.

The National Vulnerability Database received 42 new vulnerabilities in Adobe Flash in the first quarter of 2015.

Vincent Weafer, who is a senior VP at McAfee Labs, says that Adobe Flash is very popular and so it is important to understand and identify security vulnerabilities that can threaten millions of users worldwide.

"This research nicely illustrates how the tech industry works together constructively to gain an advantage in the realm of cybersecurity—industry partners sharing threat intelligence, and technology providers acting on information quickly to help prevent potential issues," said Weafer.

The latest McAfee Labs report recommends that organizations as well as users should be diligent in order to understand threats to the computer system's security. People should be aware of phishing emails and messages that can contain malicious links. CDs and USB drives should be scanned for malware and viruses before transferring data to a computer.

Individuals and businesses should keep their security software updated with the latest patches to avoid any attempt of cyber attacks on their computer systems.

Photo: Intel Free Press | Flickr

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