Why is ransomware now life threatening?

COVID-19 wasn't the only deadly disease of 2020

When a patient died after a ransomware attack meant she had to be diverted from her nearest center for care, the cybersecurity world paid close attention. Why is this event being described as a warning for the future of cyber defense? Watch Ransomware: An Escalating Threat to find out.

Ransomware’s malicious history

In 1989, a Harvard Ph.D graduate sent 20,000 floppy disks to that year's international AIDS conference attendees, labeled AIDS Information – Introductory Diskettes. They were loaded with the earliest known ransomware, PS Cyborg. It encrypted files on the host's computer unless the owner sent $189 to PC Cyborg Cor. And it was no misguided academic experiment – the graduate just wanted extra cash.

Malwaer changes focus

Fast forward 31 years from ransomware's inception. Today, this form of malware is life threatening.

Historically, ransomware targeted personal computer users. Today, the profit's in attacking businesses, because they have more money and valuable data. By the end of 2021 there will be a ransomware attack every 11 seconds, causing overall damage worth 20 billion US dollars. But it's not just about money.

Tragic incident heralds a new age of secuity concern

The coronavirus pandemic was the opportunity of the decade for ransomware. While overrun healthcare systems experienced an unprecedented wave of attacks, one ransomware incident in Dusseldorf, Germany stood out.

Medics received a call from a woman in pain. When they saw her, they realized she needed urgent surgery. They planned to take her to the local university hospital, but a ransomware attack had shut down its crucial machinery, so she had to be diverted to another emergency unit. She died on route.

With the consequences of ransomware now proven deadly, how do we protect ourselves, our loved ones and our businesses? Prepare yourself with free ransom decryption tools from No More Ransom – an initiative by the Netherlands' police, Europol's European Cybercrime Centre, Kaspersky and McAfee.


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