2016 has already been called “The Year of Ransomware” by many IT security professionals. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center has released their annual survey of cybercrime. They found that the 2,453 ransomware complaints they received last year cost individuals and businesses $1.6 million - and this is only reported instances. Thousands of ransomware attacks go unreported each year.
Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky said that they spotted 179,209 instances of ransomware in 2015 and CNN reported in April that this cost victims $24 million, according to the Washington Times.
Some of the most targeted institutions are hospitals and healthcare organizations. Criminal hackers are aware that hospitals are a soft target from which they can reap large rewards. Just last week, a hospital in Kansas had their files held for ransom (and despite paying the ransom, didn’t get their files back until they paid another ransom). It seems that every week a new ransomware attack makes headline news.
Even the FBI admits that there’s little you can do once you have been attacked, according to Vocativ. Though they haven’t said it directly, the FBI suggests that most businesses that are attacked should just pay the ransom and hopefully get their files back. However, your best bet is to have a strong backup system in place before getting attacked. If your original files become encrypted, you will simply have to access your backup instead. It gives hackers no leverage.
Of course, there are many other popular types of cybercrime as well, including credit card fraud, business email compromise, identity theft, malware, extortion, denial of service, and so many more. In the FBI’s report, you can see which states are most often attacked and how much money they lose from all types of cybercrime. The following map shows how much money each state lost in 2015 due to cybercrime. The results probably won’t surprise you.