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Ransomware Victims Encouraged to Report Incidents to the FBI

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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

Need More Help Fighting Ransomware?

If you have questions regarding preventing ransomware, PC Help Services is a proven leader in providing IT consulting and cybersecurity in Indianapolis. Contact one of our expert IT staff at (317) 585-0500 or send us an email at info@pchservices.com today, and we can help you with any of your cyber defense and security needs.

Alexssa

My wife called around and the first company to actually answer the phone was PC Help Services, Inc. She scheduled a time for the owner, Jason, to come out to our house; he came out within 48 hours. (In the past, we had taken our computer to a place like Best Buy to get it repaired, but we really don’t like doing that anymore. Even though it costs more for a repairman to come to one’s home, it is worth it for convenience and security.) Jason showed up on time and was very professional. At the advice of the person who scheduled the appt. over the phone, we purchased a new DVD burner from Fry’s ahead of time to save money. When Jason determined that the DVD burner / drive in our computer was indeed inoperable, he began to replace it with the one we had purchased. There was a problem between the computer and the connectors for the new DVD drive. Jason knew of a store from which he could buy a new connector. Within 10 minutes he was back and had spent $5.00 for the connector. He quickly installed the new DVD drive and concluded within 45 minutes, start to finish. Hire PC Help Services, Inc., by all means!”

Philip Kern / April 2009

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