Ransomware attacks growing in number, severity: Why experts believe it will get worse


Ransomware has become the most chronic and common threat to digital networks. At a time when 41% of all cybersecurity insurance claims flow from ransomware attacks, it’s no surprise that ransomware is top of mind for leading security experts, government officials and law enforcement leaders.

“I think ransomware is going to get worse and I hate to say it, but it’s almost the perfect crime,” Mark Weatherford, chief strategy officer and board member of the non-profit National Cyber Security Center, told attendees at the third annual Hack the Capitol event. “It’s easy to pull off and it’s almost impossible to get caught.”

While major ransomware events grab all the headlines, Weatherford worries about the smaller victims of ransomware attackers. “Small- and medium-sized businesses simply don’t have the resources or the technical acumen to understand the threat environment that they live in,” he said.

Sometimes it can seem like a ransomware attack is inevitable. “A lot of my friends in companies that I talk to on a regular basis literally are waiting for that shoe to drop when they are the victim of a big ransomware event,” Weatherford said.

Ransomware is a big deal and getting worse

“Ransomware is actually a big deal,” Rex Booth, chief cyber threat analysis at the US Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Cyber and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), said at CISA’s annual Cybersummit. “It may not be the most exciting kind of compromise; it may not always be the most sophisticated. Sometimes it’s honestly easily preventable,” Booth said.

“When you’re suffering through a ransomware incident, none of that matters. It’s a big deal. You can’t access your data. You can’t use your systems, and you don’t know if you’re going to get them back and you’re upset. You’re freaking out.”

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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