Dangerous escalation in ransomware attacks
When Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center revealed that it paid 40 bitcoins — roughly $17,000 — in ransom to hackers who essentially held the hospital’s computer system hostage, it marked a dangerous escalation in the high stakes surrounding ransomware.
It was reported the other day that Google had removed several Apps from the Play Store because they were associated with terrorist organizations.
While the threat of ransomware isn’t exactly new, high-profile cases like this suggest the severity of an attack’s impact can be crushing, especially as hackers move from targeting individuals to bigger fish such as companies and major institutions like the hospital. Ransomware is exactly what it sounds like — malicious software used by hackers to block access to a computer system until a ransom is paid. It has become more common in recent years. The number of ransomware attacks increased from 100,000 in January 2013 to 600,000 by the end of that year, according to a 2014 report by antivirus software maker Symantec.
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