It’s a new year, a time when many people look to turnover a new leaf and make some positive changes.
Sadly, not everyone.
In particular, it seems that ransomware gangs show no signs of letting up on their criminal activity in 2023.
Then again, why would they?
Ransomware was one of the major cybersecurity issues of last year – and many of the previous years too – as cyber criminals used file-encrypting malware against a series of victims, including universities, schools, hospitals and more.
The goal of ransomware attacks is simple; make money by demanding a ransom payment in exchange for the decryption key to (maybe) unlock the encrypted systems.
These ransom demands can be millions of dollars. But while national governments, law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity companies warn that victims should never pay the ransom because it only encourages further attacks, many do; either because they feel helpless, or because they think it’s the quickest way of retrieving their encrypted files. Not that crooks can be trusted to hold their word.
Not every ransomware victim gives into the ransom demands, instead opting to painstaking restore their network from scratch, which can take weeks or even months – but a significant number victims do pay, which is why ransomware continues to be a major cybersecurity threat – because it works and it makes criminals money.