Cisco sees a growing danger in ransomware attacks (Photo: Cisco)

Companies are badly prepared for future strains of ransomware, according to the latest Cisco Cybersecurity Report.

The study, which the US-based technology group conducts twicea year, found that companies are too often operating with a fragile IT infrastructure, don’t stick to internal rules, and are slow to detect cyber-threats.

That opens the door to attackers using ransomware, which in its most common form is software that locks up a device until a ransom is paid.

“The struggle to constrain the operational space of attackers is the biggest challenge facing businesses and threatens the underlying foundation required for digital transformation,” Cisco said in its report.

The researchers found that ransomware attacks are growing in sophistication, targeting servers instead of end-user devices and even using encryption to mask activity.

“So far in 2016, ransomware has become the most profitable malware type in history,” Cisco said.

Marty Roesch, chief architect in Cisco’s Security Business Group, said companies must do more to fend off ransomware cyber attacks.

“To close the attackers’ windows of opportunity, customers will require more visbility into their networks and must improve activities like patching and retiring aging infrastructure lacking in advanced security capabilities,” Roesch said in a press statement.