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