Security & Fraud

Ransomware’s Heavy Costs

CyberScout

Krebs on Security reported that ransomware — the style of cybercriminality that infects files on a computer server and then forces users to pay up in order to restore them — has been exacting a cost that could get a lot heavier if hackers start to ask for more money, as they surmise that that data they’ve captured is worth a lot to the rightful owners.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation published an alert on Thursday (Sept. 15) that stated that ransomware attacks have been targeting business servers, increasingly so over individual people, and targeting hosts in an effort to gain entry into more devices, servers and networks.

In its bulletin, the FBI noted: “Actors engaging in this targeting strategy are also charging ransoms based on the number of host (or servers) infected. Additionally, recent victims who have been infected with these types of ransomware variants have not been provided the decryption keys for all their files after paying the ransom, and some have been extorted for even more money after payment.”

Such actions, said the bureau, “could translate into victims paying more to get their decryption keys, a prolonged recovery time and the possibility that victims will not obtain full decryption of their files.” Krebs on Security also noted that ransomware techniques have recently involved setting different rates of ransom in different countries and targeting environments rich in data — and sensitive data at that — such as hospitals.

The FBI warned that computer and device users should regularly back up data and secure these backups.

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