Security & Fraud

Ransomware Hacks Costs Exceed $25M

With ransomware cyberattacks raging, companies and individuals have paid out more than $25 million during the course of the last two years in an effort to get their data back from hackers.

According to a news report in Fortune, new research from Google shows the costs associated with this type of ransomware hack, in which the bad guys infiltrate a computer and lock up the data, holding it for a ransom.

The victims are usually forced to pay via cryptocurrency to get their data back and have a small timeframe to do so. In recent months, companies have been the target of cyberattacks, with some spreading around the globe, like the recent WannaCry cybercrime incident.

The new cybersecurity research, which was conducted by Google in conjunction with Chainalysis, University of California at San Diego and New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, found scores of computer users are at risk from this type of fraud attack, given only about 37 percent back up the data that resides on their hard drives, reported Fortune. The researchers contend it has become a profitable method of cybercrime for hackers and is one that will likely be around for a while. To assess the costs of the cybersecurity breaches, the researchers used reports from victims, among other analysis, the report noted.

In the spring, a massive cyberattack hit everything from the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, European automakers, Chinese firms and any number of companies across other verticals, winnowing its way through disparate countries. Interpol had estimated more than 100,000 organizations across 150 nations had been hit by the malware, dubbed WannaCry.

Reuters and others reported that the ransomware infections that hit computers worldwide likely trace their genesis to the U.S. National Security Agency, and that there was more than 126,000 cases of fraud.

The malware that was sent had been hidden in any number of attachments in emails that had seemed legitimate, from files that spoofed invoices to job offers and other communications. The demands came in from $300 to $600 to give users back access to their machines.

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