Ransomware Demands Skyrocket

Ransomware Demands Skyrocket


It doesn’t seem that long ago that ransomware attacks became a premier choice for hackers and scam artists. One attack I vividly remember from the early days of ransomware was around 2012, when we helped a local Pittsburgh client with a locked-up computer that had been frozen with ransomware. The ransom that the perpetrators were asking for at the time was a nuisance amount of $300, and upon that payment, the scammers claimed they would unlock our client’s computers.

Fast forward a few years, and those measly-yet inappropriate requests had grown. When a similar situation occurred then, the ransom amount scammers requested before letting law enforcement unlock the victim’s files rose to about $1,500. Then, a couple years later, the ransom a hacker asked for jumped to $4,000, and last year, it was commonplace to see ransoms in the area of $30,000.

That brings us to 2019, when we are now seeing targeted ransomware attacks by perpetrators who are demanding ransoms close to $200,000. And these are ransoms being placed on critical files and notes that organizations desperately need.

Two major ransomware variants called SamSam and RYUK are doing this now. According to the FBI’s Mike Christman — who you may remember from his recent segment on CBS’s “60 Minutes” — the dollar amount losses are severe. Christman says, “I’m aware of one ransomware variant that affected all 50 states that had some $30 million in losses and over $6 million in ransom payments. I would tell you that the losses are very significant and easily approach $100 million or more just in the United States.”

There is nothing an organization can do to unlock these files except wipe the system clean and hope their backup strategy is adequate enough to replace the encrypted data. Of course, they could instead pay the ransom and hope they receive decryption keys that work. (Check Page 3 of this newsletter for an example of why this does not work.)

However, as we all know, the old adage “Hope is not a strategy” always applies, especially when it comes to your IT services and critical files. Network Access offers comprehensive backup solutions that will secure your entire server to completely restore the environment, should an infection occur. No matter how much scammers think they can get away with, Network Access has a defense to thwart them.