The FBI says Americans lost nearly $7 billion to cybercrime last year. One of the biggest problems is ransomware.
A recent study from Sophos Cyber Security found 46% of organizations attacked last year paid the ransom, with an average payout of $812,360.
“Ransomware, it’s a big problem and it’s not going away anytime soon,” says cyber security expert Scott Schober.
Schober says that’s because it’s easier than ever to commit these crimes. A report last month from Microsoft highlights how ransomware kits are advertised and sold on the dark web, giving hackers the tools needed to attack a company. They cost as little as $5.99, and the transaction is done in untraceable cryptocurrency.
“It allows you to remain anonymous so they can’t catch you,” says Schober. “That’s, in a sense, the beauty of being a cybercriminal. You can work in this underground world and not easily be caught.”
Before deploying that ransomware, hackers have to gain access to an organization’s network, often done with stolen usernames and passwords for sale on the dark web. Experts say it’s critical for companies to use safety protocols like two factor authentication to keep cyber criminals out.