RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Ransomware attacks are on the rise, with experts saying we’ve had more this year than ever before.

The network security company “Sonic Wall” says global ransomware attacks increased by 148 percent in the third quarter of this year.

Shane Stansbury with Duke Law School has led many cases involving cybercrime and ransomware attacks and says it’s not hard for criminals to do.

“You don’t have to be all that sophisticated to carry it out and the other thing is with the rise of cryptocurrency, the anonymity factor has become magnified and so it’s just things have become a lot easier,” Stansbury said.

There are several factors these criminals are considering when they launch an attack. Will this victim pay up? Do they have the money to do so? Also, does the victim have information that’s valuable enough to make them pay?

As we prepare for a new year, Stansbury says there’s a good chance the attacks will continue to rise because it’s not easy to track down the people responsible and more severe penalties are needed.

“It’s too easy to conduct and the penalties are either unlikely or not severe enough for it to matter,” Stansbury said.

Experts advise people to be careful about the links you click on because a large majority of data breaches happen when people click on a bad website. Also, think twice before giving your personal information through social media.