Ransomware dates back to almost a decade ago, when Eastern European cybercriminals infects European PC users with malware that encrypts their data until they pay 200 to 300 euros.
But over the past decade, cybercriminals have shifted to major targets in the United States: large corporations like Honeywell, the victim of a ransomware attack and data leaks this month; cities like Baltimore and New Orleans; and police departments, schools and hospitals, each with increasingly urgent reasons for data recovery and digital access in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic coincided with the worst year on record of ransomware attacks last year, with victims’ ransom claims averaging over $ 100,000 and in some cases in the tens of millions. , according to the Department of Justice.
Last week, the Biden administration approved John Carlin, acting deputy attorney general, to lead a ransomware task force consisting of FBI agents and prosecutors from the Private Department’s national security and crime divisions. France, along with others.
“Ransomware can have serious human and financial consequences,” Carlin wrote in a staff memo on Tuesday. “When criminals target critical infrastructure such as hospitals, utilities and city networks, their operations endanger the safety and health of Americans.”
According to Brett Callow, a threat analyst at Emsisoft, a security firm, about 27 ransomware groups are currently stealing and leaking data.
“Attackers are using stolen data in more extreme ways,” said Callow. “In this case, they threaten to disclose informational data to gangs. In other cases, they contacted customers directly to ask them to pressure the victim to pay, prevent the disclosure of their personal data.