Hackers are getting more aggressive — and asking for big bucks.
The increase of monetary demands in cybersecurity incidents (such as ransomware exposure) continues on the uptick.
Instead of tens of thousands, hackers now ask for hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars from those infected with this type of malware.
Hospitals and schools in Florida are the most lucrative targets for these criminals. One recent case was the Broward County School District, the target of ransomware just last month.
In this case, hackers behind the attack asked for a whopping $40 million to hand over the decryption keys to the school — allowing them to unlock their frozen files and network.
This type of crime starts when a criminal targets someone in the organization, usually by way of a seemingly innocent-looking email from someone they know or from an organization they do business with (spoofed, it’s not really them) containing a link.
Click the link and, bam! The threat is unleashed, and all computers are encrypted.
If you pay the ransom, the criminals say they will give you (maybe) the encryption keys to unlock your frozen system.
Broward Schools issued a statement saying they will not pay the ransom, but the ask is out there, and it is off the charts.
There are also some strange facts in this scenario.
The difference between the Broward attack and those in Rivera and other spots in Florida (where they paid a relatively small six-figure ransom of $600,000), the criminals priced those ransoms in a range the target could afford.
But in Broward, negotiations began. The school offered the hackers $500,000, but they said no, saying they know about the “royal family (?).”
Meanwhile, the school system chose to recover on its own; we will see if the hackers leak any data in the coming days/week. That is what they threaten to do if you don’t pay the ransom.
Unless there’s an “Earl of Ft. Lauderdale” I don’t know about, I think these criminals are a bit confused.
So regardless of the oddities with the Broward situation, why do these ransoms continue to go up?
Because people keep paying these “ransomware gangs.”
Just like anything else, if there were no profits, people would stop…