A while ago, organizations such as the FBI militated to inform people from all around the world not to pay ransoms when their systems were hacked, mostly due to the fact that the hackers made mistakes, and were traceable. However, things have changed quite a lot as time passed.
In fact, Joseph Bonavolonta, who is the Assistant Special Agent that is in charge with the FBI’s CYBER Counterintelligence program, has made an interesting statement, over at the Cyber Security Summit of 2015, stating that ransomware has become so good, that it’s just advisable for companies and individuals to pay the ransom and be done with it.
Based on this, we have clear proof that ransomware is becoming increasingly popular with extortionists and cyber criminals all around the world. They operate by locking down systems and rendering them useless, while also compromising stored data until ransoms are paid. At this moment in time, most of the ransoms are requested in the form of irreversible transactions such as bitcoin.
The FBI representative has stated that they are still hard at work to find a way to combat ransomware, but for now, that it is best for companies to simply pay the ransoms to get access to their systems, unless they have data backup stored somewhere. Cryptolocker was the most popular form of ransomware last year, but it has recently been replaced by Cryptowall, which is even stronger from of ransomware. Probably, the best way to not be affected by ransomware is prevention. Keep in mind that it’s often acquired through web ads that start automatic downloads, thus initiating strong encryptions, which are often unbreakable. Don’t access suspicious sites, and always use an antivirus.
Currently, extortionists ask for a few hundred dollars to restore users access to their computers. Based on this, it’s important to always have an up-to-date backup of your data, just to be safe. We’re excited to see whether the Blockchain Alliance will play a role in combatting the rising popularity of ransomware.
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