How Did ‘Ransomware’ Get So Bad?

Hackers are freezing information and demanding ransom. Who is behind this, and what can be done?

A woman died from treatment delays after a hospital in Germany hit by a cyberattack was forced to turn away emergency patients. Hackers released private information, including Social Security numbers, from a Las Vegas school district. A coronavirus vaccine trial was bogged down in recent weeks when researchers were locked out of their data.

This is a small sample of the toll from ransomware attacks, in which hackers break into computer networks and freeze the digital information until the targeted organization or city pays for its release. Victims have two bad choices: Give in to extortion and hope the criminals didn’t do too much damage, or refuse and risk the hackers releasing or deleting essential information. It might also cost more than the ransom to rebuild computer systems.

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Also see:

Clinical Trials Hit by Ransomware Attack on Health Tech Firm
A Philadelphia company that sells software used in hundreds of clinical trials, including the crash effort to develop tests, treatments and a vaccine for the coronavirus, was hit by a ransomware attack that has slowed some of those trials over the past two weeks.

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