Blackmail over the Internet
Ransomware is malware that typically
enables cyber extortion for financial gain. Criminals can hide links
to ransomware in seemingly normal emails or web pages. Once activated,
ransomware prevents users from interacting with their files,
applications or systems until a ransom is paid, typically in the form
of an anonymous currency such as Bitcoin. Ransomware is a serious and
growing cyber threat that often affects individuals and has recently
made headlines for broader attacks on businesses. Payment demands vary
based on targeted organizations, and can range from hundreds to
millions of dollars.
A multitude of ransomware variants exist.
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in the
brazenness, prominence, frequency and number of ransomware attacks.
They include Cryptolocker and its variants such as Kriptovor
and Locky and most recently, WannaCry.
Once infected, a victim has little
recourse. If they do not pay the ransom, they suffer business down
time, loss of sensitive information or any other penalty specified by
the attacker. And even when they do pay the ransom, they remain
vulnerable to attack from the same attacker or a new one, and reward
attackers for their successful tactics.
Usually, if you have to choose whether to
pay a cyber ransom, it’s too late.