Ransomware Victims Encouraged to Report Incidents to the FBI

BY:

Oct 3, 2016

Rather than hide away in shame, you should report your ransomware incident to the FBI, so the law enforcement agency urges. They are also discouraging victims from paying any ransom to cybercriminals (echoing the sentiments of most IT experts), as some strains of this file-encrypting malware will take your money and still destroy your files. This is all part of an effort on the FBI’s part to get a better sense of the problem and (one can only hope) start getting some leads and cracking down on relentless, ransomware-wielding hackers.

FBI

The FBI warning and incident-reporting urging comes on the heels of a forum convened by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) during which FTC chairwoman Edith Ramirez remarked, “The spate of ransomware incidents are escalating at an alarming rate,” and also cited a Department of Justice estimate that ransomware incidents have gone up 300% in the past year. And, with new Department of Human Services regulations involving stricter HIPAA guidelines for healthcare facilities, the need to get a hold on the numbers of ransomware incidents and where they are coming from becomes even more urgent.

Although a report by Enigma Software shows that overall ransomware attacks actually decreased by 47.3 percent during the first half of 2016 over 2015, there are still estimates of as many as 100,000 malware and ransomware-infected computers daily in the U.S. alone. Head of Enigma Software Ryan Gerding said that while ransomware is accounting for a relatively small percentage of cyberattacks overall, they are growing at an astonishing rate.

“If you looked at the percentage of infections made up by ransomware in 2016, you would see a 119 percent spike from 2015. To us, this means malware makers may be shifting their attention to less common, but much more costly infections like ransomware,” said Gerding.

Enigma also broke down the number of ransomware incidents by location, citing the most ransomware-infected cities, with Tampa, St. Louis, Orlando, and Denver at the top of the list, in declining order. The cities with the fewest incidents of ransomware attacks (also in descending order) are Los Angeles, Riverside, CA, Albuquerque, and Wichita, Kansas.

Network World recently provided a list of ways you can thwart malware variants, which include:

  • Enabling Two-Factor Authentication (2FA), or Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
  • Audit your Login History and Use Tracking Code to Find Unauthorized Access Attempts
  • Install Anti-Malware Software
  • Implement All Recommended Security Updates
  • Perform Offline Backups

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