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Ransomware Has Made Millions in Last Year Says Google

Ransomware has seen a massive spike in attacks this year. With ransomware attacks encrypting all of the files on a hard drive there are increasing reports of people actually paying the fees to hopefully retrieve their documents and photographs. Well, apparently the amount that is being paid is not to be laughed at. It is in fact surprisingly and alarmingly high.

Ransomware – The vilest type of virus

I hate ransomware. Over the years we all gather files on our PC’s, things from years ago. Put simply, memories. I have a neat little folder on my hard drive containing all the files and garbage I’ve accumulated over my years of PC ownership. Now while I sensibly back these up on several external hard drives and what-not many do not and it’s this type of attack that can affect people the most. All of those personal files, photographs, locked out and held to literal ransom.

Given this scenario, you could easily believe that some people may make the payment. I would note that after handing this cash over, there is zero reason to believe that they will give you the necessary information to unlock your PC. I would also suggest that doing so, similar to telesales, would have your PC, name and e-mail address added to a ‘sucker-list’.

One of the most shocking instances that came to my attention was a company who agreed to pay a $1m ransom to unlock their computer system. You can read about that attack here.

So how much has been paid?

It is difficult to know exactly. However, research by Google, reported by the BBC, suggests a conservative estimate of $25,000,000 has been paid to ransomware attackers.

This annoys me greatly. While I understand the pressing need to sometimes recover files, ultimately you are feeding the beast that is attacking you. The more people pay, the more ransomware attackers will feel validated and the more they will do it.

I do sympathize with people affected by these types of attacks. I did, however, see the writing on the wall. Back in April this year, I was personally aware that attacks of this type were on the increase. I have written an article which details how ransomware works and if you wish to learn more, you can read it here.

This isn’t me trying to be big headed about spotting it before the large scale attacks that occurred. I simply think that this type of attack is the lowest and most malicious form of attack. Losing your files to a virus is sad, but having them held to ransom is simply disgusting.

At the risk of sounding unsympathetic, I understand why people do pay these ransoms. I do, however, think they are being extremely short-sighted.

 

Mike Sanders

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