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Technology: Ransomware is just the latest trend in cyber crime

Author: JEFF HONCOOP / Source: The Billings Gazette

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Five years ago, credit card information theft and identity fraud were the two most prevalent forms of computer aided (cyber) theft. In response, individuals, government, and industry developed protection mechanism to address these attacks using solutions like LifeLock, HIPAA, and anomaly reporting and prevention technologies for credit card authorizations. As protection improved, criminals began developing alternative methods to steal from their victims.

The current state of the art for cyber theft is “ransomware”. Ransomware is malicious code that blocks or limits access to applications or files until the required sum of money is paid. The most common forms of ransomware remove access to critical files by encrypting the files on the computer via government grade encryption. The password to decrypt the files is then offered for purchase via credit card or bitcoin transaction.

Ransomware can infect computers within your business through a variety of avenues, but according to the FBI, the three most common infection sources are:

The initial infections of the WannaCry ransomware were distributed via email but then spread using a known flaw within the Windows operating system. As a result, once a single computer within an organization was infected, all other computers on the same network were placed at risk. WannaCry also demonstrated one of the risks associated with…

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