One thing for sure, Ransomware is not going away, in fact it is getting more prevalent than ever before.While it is true that some of the original group distributing and profiting from the crime have been caught, the new wave of thieves are more sophisticated than the prior group. According to Forbes this new strain of ransomware “Locky”is infecting as many as 90,000 systems per day. (Ed Haag, UIT)
According to the FBI, more Americans are being victimized by hackers extorting money through ransomware, and the law-enforcement agency expects the problem to get worse this year. Soon-to-be-released data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center will show that in 2015 there were 2,453 reported ransomware incidents, in which victims paid about $24.1 million total. (Devlin Barrett, WSJ)
More From Devlin Barrett, Wall Street Journal, March 10, 2016
More Americans are being victimized by hackers extorting money through so-called ransomware, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said Thursday, and the law-enforcement agency expects the problem to get worse this year. Chris Stangl, a section chief at the FBI’s Cyber Division, described the increasing urgency and scope of the challenge posed by ransomware as “a prevalent, increasing threat” in an interview with The Wall Street Journal.
Soon-to-be-released data from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center will show that in 2015 there were 2,453 reported ransomware incidents, in which victims paid about $24.1 million total. Officials said this was an increase from the prior year, though the data collection method changed in early 2014. Figures for the last nine months of that year show 1,838 reported incidents for losses of $23.8 million.
Unlike other computer crimes, a ransomware attack doesn’t steal data, but locks individuals or companies out of computer files or their entire computer system with a demand for payment for an encryption key to unlock the information. Often the demands are for a relatively small amount of money, perhaps a few hundred dollars, but a California hospital recently paid $17,000 to restore access to some of its data.
The problem of ransomware, Mr. Stangl said, “is growing…The only reason why these campaigns are successful is because people pay” and he warned that the only way to deter skilled criminals is to make copies of important data before they strike.