Rise of Ransomware Attacks Now Considered a National Threat
Published: October 19, 2021
The US government is set on stepping up its approach to fighting computer crimes following the rise in ransomware.
It appears that cybercriminals are getting more advanced in their ransomware attacks. They are targeting large institutions, including hospitals, universities, police departments, and more.
Last week, the White House held an international counter-ransomware event attended by representatives from over 30 countries, including the UK, Canada, Japan, and more.
High-level governments emphasized the growing reach of these attacks that have become both a national threat and a global digital scourge. Following that, the attendees pledged to work collectively to track down the cybercriminals behind the attacks and prosecute them.
Russia was noticeably absent, however. Notably, the US and other countries blame it for nurturing and possibly encouraging those behind the ransomware attacks.
Just this weekend, another ransomware attack on Sinclair Broadcast Group locked down its servers and workstations. What’s more, the attackers also stole data from the TV station operator. The case is still under investigation.
For the attacks on banks and financial institutions alone, the Department of Treasury reported that the suspected ransomware payments totaled $590 million in the first half of the year. That surpassed last year’s record of $416 million.
This year’s incidents include the multimillion-dollar attacks on Colonial Pipeline and JBS USA Holdings, a major oil pipeline and a huge meat processor. Both ransoms were paid in Bitcoin.
Chester Wisniewski, a principal research scientist for the global cybersecurity firm Sophos, stated that “it’s amusing to the outside world that the US doesn’t care until it’s about oil and meat.”