Ransomware continues to be a highly profitable cybercrime. Ransomware incident response firm Coveware reports that for the third quarter of this year, the average ransom amount paid was $41,198, a six-fold increase from the same period last year, driven by strains such as Ryuk and Sodinokibi.
For Russian-speaking hackers, ransomware used to be taboo. But GandCrab killed all such ethical qualms, democratizing ransomware-as-a-service, paving the way for new profit-sharing schemes such as Sodinokibi and driving a new generation of attackers to master advanced hacking skills, a new report finds.
Johannesburg has been hit with a ransomware attack that is crippling municipal services. City Power, an electric utility owned by the city that was hit by a similar attack in July - also was affected by the latest attack.
Ransomware is once again the most common illicit profit-making tool in online attackers' arsenal, police warn. Security firm Emsisoft says the most-seen strains in recent months include STOP, Dharma .cezar, Phobos, GlobeImposter 2.0 and Sodinokibi. Less widely seen Ryuk also continues to generate big profits.
Pitney Bowes says it was infected by file-encrypting malware that has affected online accounts and mailing products but that client data doesn't appear to be at risk. The postage meter maker says "all options" are being considered for recovery, meaning that it could pay a ransom.
The U.S. National Security Agency is the latest intelligence agency to warn that unpatched flaws in three vendors' VPN servers are being actively exploited by nation-state attackers. Security experts say such alerts, which are rare, are a clear sign that serious damage is being caused.
More than 600 ransomware attacks pummelled local governments, schools districts and healthcare providers across the U.S. in the first three quarters of this year, according to a study by security firm Emsisoft. Meanwhile, the FBI this week issued a fresh warning about the threat.
Medical facilities and hospitals across the state of Victoria in Australia were infected by file-encrypting ransomware on Monday, causing the shutdown of patient booking systems and financial systems. At least one hospital has reverted to using paper-based systems.
"Cyberattacks are one of the unfortunate realities of doing business today," reads gaming company Zynga's data breach notification, thus breaking the first rule of crisis management: Own your mistakes. Hacker Gnosticplayers claims the company was still storing passwords using outdated SHA1.
The city of Baltimore's ransomware outbreak - $18 million in costs and counting - led to many crypto-locked files being lost forever, because no IT policy mandated centralized file backups. But effective IT solutions exist to help solve this challenge, provided they're deployed in advance of an attack.
Ahead of the release of Edward Snowden's memoirs chronicling his decision to bring illegal "big data" domestic U.S. surveillance programs to light, a former NSA intelligence specialist points out that the U.S. still lacks a whistleblowing law to protect intelligence workers who spot illegal activity.
Ransomware-wielding attackers treat infecting endpoints as a business and put customer relationship management principles to work, says Bill Siegel, CEO of ransomware incident response firm Coveware. He notes criminals "go after the low-hanging fruit because it's cheap and the conversion rate is high."