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Hackers Demand Ransom from Businesses after Stealing and Encrypting Their Information

hackerThank you to all who participated in ABEX / WatSec Cyber Webinar yesterday.  During the webinar, we touched on a few different examples of cyber attacks, one of the newest threats involving ransom attacks.

In ransom attacks, hackers steal information from businesses and encrypt it so that it can’t be read by anyone.  Data from backups can get encrypted as well.  Then hackers demand ransom from the victims in exchange for the encryption key that would allow the victims to access their own information. However, the hackers won’t necessarily decrypt the files even after the ransom had been paid.

There are many examples of ransom attacks happening, not only around the globe, but also here in Canada and more specifically in Southwestern Ontario and GTA.  These cases do not always reach the media, and thus do not get the deserved attention.  

One example includes some Dryden, Ontario residents who were struck by a combination of computer virus and Internet scam.  The virus would exhibit the logo of the RCMP, informing users they have violated copyright infringement or downloaded illegal pornography. It details the applicable money-wiring businesses users should use to pay their fine of $100 within 72 hours or risk being imprisoned from one to nine years or face a fine of up to $250,000.  Click here to read more.

Another example includes an Australian medical centre, Miami Family Medical Centre and The Surgeons of Lake County which all had a ransom demand after blackmailers broke into the organizations’ servers and encrypted their entire patient databases.  Click here to read more.

According to Norton’s Cybercrime 2012 report, 70% of online adults in Canada have been the victim of cybercrime at some point in their life. Cybercrime costs Canadians $1.4 billion per year. The average cost per crime victim is over $160, according to Norton’s report.

A security company, Trend Micro, has published an infographic: The Cybercriminal Underground: How Cybercriminals Are Getting Better At Stealing Your Money. The infographic explores what items are being traded in the cybercrime underground, how the underground is organized, and how users are affected. Click here to read more.

Please feel free to contact ABEX and WatSec for more information on how you can effectively manage your cyber risks.

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