If cyberspace were a playing field, then ransomware hackers would be running up the score.
The notion of hacking using digital extortion as a means of making money entered the public consciousness in 2016, when attackers held a California hospital hostage until administrators agreed to pay the equivalent of more than $3 million in bitcoin. Since then, a generation of scammers have relied on ransomware to demand payouts from Fortune 500 firms, medical facilities, government targets like towns and schools, as well as a diverse set of small and medium sized businesses.
As security personnel in the public and private sectors work to improve their defenses about a growing number of malware strains, the U.S. federal government is taking multiple approaches to try to fend off hackers.
Congressional lawmakers, for instance, are gathering information about ransomware as part of a larger movement to understand and mitigate emerging risks online, while experienced diplomats are considering ways that the U.S. might solve the issue on a global scale. Meanwhile, agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Treasury and others are issuing regular notifications about how organizations can safeguard their data.
In this special report, CyberScoop speaks with government officials, executives, security experts and other leading decision-makers about the current scope of the ransomware problem, and possible remedies that could slow hackers’ pace.
This report will be updated in the weeks following initial publication.