A Look at Ransomware in 2019
Ransomware, a malicious program that denies a user’s access to their computer until a sum of money is paid or face losing all of your data, is still a major issue for all computer users.
In May of 2019, government officials of Baltimore, MD, were attacked by ransomware. How did this impact Baltimore? Thousands of government computers, e-mails, emergency service dispatch systems, and government websites (such as water bills and health alerts) were completely inaccessible to the city.
As of right now, the estimate for damages from this ransomware attack alone is over $18 million dollars, according to news source NY Times. This goes to show that the risk of being attacked by ransomware is as high as ever. Why has there been an increase in ransomware attacks over the past few years?
A tool created by N.S.A., known as EternalBlue, has fallen into the hands of hackers around the world in 2017, notably North Korea and Russia. The infamous WannaCry cyber-attack has been linked to North Korea hacking entity referred to the Lazarus Group. Whereas Russia has ties to the creation and malicious use of the ransomware known as NotPetya. Both of these malicious programs have cost billions of dollars in damages for governments, businesses and local U.S. citizens.
This is the ransomware demand. It threatens that after 10 days, Baltimore won’t get its data back. Armor says there have been no transactions to the hacker’s bitcoin wallets.
@wjz, Mike Hellgren, Investigative Reporter for WJZ
Outdated Software Leaves Computers at High Risk
Right now, hackers are attacking local governments with aging digital infrastructure. Due to outdated software, it’s harder to prevent ransomware attacks and to resolve it, but easier for ransomware to compromise computers. Ransomware exploits vulnerabilities found in unpatched software which allows it to spread to other devices on the same network. Other U.S. governments affected by ransomware include Allentown, PA., San Antonio, TX., Cartersville, GA., and many other states and local governments.
What Can You Do?
All it takes is one click on a phishing e-mail link to have your computer compromised by ransomware. How much would you pay to save your computer files? Don’t find out. Make sure to update your operating system to the most up to date version of available software. If you’re still using Windows 7, you definitely want to update to Windows 10 due to Windows 7 reaching its end of life in a matter of months. Here’s a great article on other steps you can take to stay safe social media, another way hackers steal your private information.
Ensure your cyber security is up to date with Kustura Technologies help.
Kustura Technologies also offers cyber security training to help you avoid becoming the next victim of ransomware. Sign up for our training classes online, or contact us to get started.