The fastest extortion software can encrypt about 100,000 files in just four minutes and nine seconds.
The American company Splunk tested some of the most popular extortion software to see how fast files can be encrypted. They had 53 GB of files for testing.
The company says it has loaded four computers running Windows 10 or Windows Server 2019 with “98,561 test files (pdf, doc, xls, etc.).” They then measured how long it took the 10 most “common” extortion programs to encrypt all these files on each system.
The fastest was a virus called LockBit, one sample of which encrypted all 53GB of data on a Windows Server 2019 computer in just four minutes and nine seconds, with an average time of five minutes and 50 seconds.
This means that most ransomware takes less than an hour to encrypt 53GB of data after installation. But the program will likely run longer in the system, as it will try to hack as many different connected devices as it can access.
“Ultimately, this research demonstrates the need for organizations to step away from responding to and mitigate damage once it has occurred,” senior security strategist Ryan Kovar said in a blog post about the company’s findings, “and focus on preventing extortion software infections.”