Can the ransomware threat be stopped? | The Stream

Ransomware attacks have become one of the biggest threats in cybersecurity today. Cybercriminals have blocked access to a major US oil pipeline, shut down hospitals in Ireland and halted operations in the world’s largest meat processing company.

And those are only recent examples that have become public. The scale of the crimes making headlines has shown that online extortionists and cybergangs are aiming for mass disruption and ultimately bigger financial gain as they hold more critical targets for ransom.

Some of the recent attacks have been traced to Russian cybercriminal groups that focus their efforts on foreign targets. Russia has been criticised for turning a blind eye to the attacks.

So should victims of ransomware pay the ransom? Many of this year’s biggest attacks have occurred in the US, where the FBI has discouraged organisations from paying since there is no guarantee cybercriminals will restore access to hacked computer systems. However, some will simply be desperate to resolve the breach. Last week, the Brazil-based meat processing company JBS paid hackers $11 million in Bitcoin to regain access to computer servers in the US and Australia.

In this episode of The Stream, we’ll look at the rise of ransomware attacks and ask what’s being done to stop them.

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