Political hand-wringing in Washington over Russia’s hacking of federal agencies and interference in U.S. politics has mostly overshadowed a worsening digital scourge with a far broader wallop: crippling and dispiriting extortionary ransomware attacks by cybercriminal mafias that mostly operate in foreign safe havens out of the reach of Western law enforcement.
The Justice Department is taking new aim at ransomware after a year that officials say was the costliest on record for the crippling cyberattacks.
[news release] Some of the world’s most skilled nation-state cyber adversaries and notorious ransomware gangs are deploying an arsenal of new open-sourced tools, actively exploiting corporate email systems and using online extortion to scare victims into paying ransoms, according to the 2020 Cyber Threatscape Report from Accenture.
Microsoft and a team of companies and law enforcement groups have disabled — at least temporarily — one of the world’s largest hacking operations, an effort run by Russian-speaking cybercriminals that officials feared could disrupt the presidential election in three weeks.
In recent weeks, the U.S. military has mounted an operation to temporarily disrupt what is described as the world’s largest botnet — one used also to drop ransomware, which officials say is one of the top threats to the 2020 election.
Cyberattacks that seize control of computers and hold them for ransom are on the rise, with the United States seeing a doubling of so-called “ransomware” attacks over the last three months compared to the previous quarter, according to Check Point Research, a cybersecurity firm.
Hackers are freezing information and demanding ransom. Who is behind this, and what can be done?