Secretive gangs are hacking the computers of governments, firms, even hospitals, and demanding huge sums. But if we pay these ransoms, are we creating a ticking time bomb?
Just days after President Biden demanded that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia shut down ransomware groups attacking American targets, the most aggressive of the groups suddenly went off-line early Tuesday.
The mystery is who made it happen.
Just hours before the Fourth of July weekend, a huge, coordinated cyberattack hit hundreds of businesses across the world. A group of hackers broke in by exploiting a hole in the software code of an information technology company with a wide-ranging client base, then demanded $70 million in ransom.
A sprawling ransomware attack that hit hours before the beginning of the July Fourth holiday weekend has already affected hundreds of businesses and is likely to hit many more, researchers said.
Ransomware has roared into the headlines in recent weeks after criminal hacking networks, tentatively linked to Russia, launched attacks on the major US meat packing plant JBS and the nation’s largest fuel pipeline.
Ransomware represents the biggest threat to online security for most people and businesses in the UK, the head of GCHQ’s cybersecurity arm is to warn.
The Biden administration is sounding increasingly urgent alarms about high-profile ransomware attacks that have caused widespread gas shortages, shut meat processing plants and paralyzed hospitals, as officials step up efforts to counter cyberthreats.
The U.S. Department of Justice is elevating investigations of ransomware attacks to a similar priority as terrorism in the wake of the Colonial Pipeline hack and mounting damage caused by cyber criminals, a senior department official told Reuters.
Meat processing plants operated by JBS, which handles a fifth of the cattle and hog slaughter in the U.S., were coming back online on Wednesday but were not all at full capacity, union officials said.
Kurtis Minder finds the cat-and-mouse energy of outsmarting criminal syndicates deeply satisfying.