Ransomware: a call to action against software that caused $ 170 billion in damage in 2020

Ransomware: a call to action against software that caused $ 170 billion in damage in 2020


As cyber attacks using ransomware increase, there are calls for governments to take action on this issue.

Global technology companies and law enforcement agencies have called for aggressive and urgent action against ransomware.

The Ransomware Task Force (RTF), which includes Microsoft, Amazon, the FBI and the UK National Crime Agency, has presented a list of approximately 50 items to governments.

Ransomware now regularly targets institutions such as schools and hospitals.

Hackers use this software to capture information in the organization or render computers unusable and then demand money to return data or restore computers.

RTF also presented its report on the issue to the US President Joe Biden’s team.

According to the report, such software has turned into a national security, public security and public health threat in the last few years.

RTF Co-Chair Jen Ellis said these attacks affect large numbers of people every day.

“This has a huge impact on the economy, too. There are times when people are blocking access to the critical services they need,” said Ellis, who works at the Rapid 7 cybersecurity company.

“The ransoms paid to these people are a source of organized crimes such as human trafficking and child abuse.”


“The effect was huge”

“On a sunny Sunday morning in October, I started receiving phone calls about the issues facing our IT department,” said Rob Miller, Director of Communications and Information Technology, Hackney Council.

“I soon realized that we were facing a serious attack.

“We had to turn everything off and disconnect all our systems from the internet. We had systems serving about 300 thousand people 24/7, so the impact was great and worrying.

“We knew that we were facing a huge challenge. We tried to re-engage the most critical services as quickly as possible, together with all the units of the municipality.

“The damage done was really great. Among the transactions that could not be done were home repairs, social assistance payments and land registry transactions. It will take months for our systems to fully recover.

“I cannot understand the motivation of these attackers. During the pandemic period, they made an attack that would put people in such a difficult situation.

“I can’t imagine a person who can see this normally. I have a hard time perceiving it.”


Those affected by ransomware attacks are embarrassed to avoid reporting it, making it difficult to uncover the true extent of the attacks.

The FBI says that around 2,400 companies, local government, healthcare and educational institutions were targeted in the US last year.

The UK National Cyber ​​Security Center reports that ransomware attacks tripled in 2020 compared to the previous year.

RTF researchers indicate that hundreds of major attacks were carried out in 2020 in a number of countries, including the UK, Brazil, Germany, South Africa, India, Saudi Arabia and Australia.

According to the estimates of the cyber security company Emsisoft, the total cost of ransomware attacks in 2020 was between $ 42 billion and $ 170 billion. This includes damages and ransom payments caused by the disruption of the business of companies.

A survey conducted by Veritas Technologies shows that 66 percent of victims agreed to pay ransom to attackers.


“My company went bankrupt”

Martin Kelterborn, director of the Swiss office equipment Offix company, Martin Kelterborn, describes the cyber attack they experienced in 2019 as follows:

“I couldn’t believe we were hacked at first.

“I went to our IT department, the manager was in shock and his face was like a lime scale. He said everything was gone. We couldn’t do anything but watch as the photos on our website were encrypted one by one by hackers.

“230 of my workers came to me and asked what they should do. We had tens of thousands of orders, but without a computer, we couldn’t meet any of those demands.

“At one point, I and my boss wrote a press release announcing that the company went bankrupt and ceased operations. It was the worst weeks of my life.

“The hackers came out with a ransom gang called Ryuk. They wanted 45 bitcoins, and the market value at that time was around half a million dollars.

“We thought about paying, but they crashed our system in such a way that we would have to rebuild most of them anyway.

“It cost us about the same amount: half a million dollars.”


RTF’s recommendations to governments include:

For years, cybersecurity experts say these gangs have been operating openly in North Korea, Russia and Iran.

With a decision taken at the beginning of April, the US government imposed sanctions on some Russians for “training criminal hackers, including the hacker group Evil Corp, and using them in damaging ransomware attacks.”

It was also reflected in the press that the US Department of Justice formed an internal working group against the increasing ransomware threat. the news was between.

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Ransomware: a call to action against software that caused $ 170 billion in damage in 2020
Ransomware: a call to action against software that caused $ 170 billion in damage in 2020
BBC


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