Why the ransomware crisis suddenly became so merciless


Just a few weeks after a major U.S. oil pipeline was built Hacked, Network attacks hit The world’s largest meat supplier. What’s next? Will these criminals target hospitals and schools? Will they start chasing American cities, governments-even the military?

In fact, all of these have been attacked by ransomware.Although the shock we saw last month feels new, hackers hijacking services and demanding payment have always been Big business for many years.Dozens of U.S. cities upset Through ransomware, and hospital They were attacked even during the worst of the pandemic. And in 2019, U.S. military becomes a target. But this does not mean that what we are seeing now is just a question of consciousness. So what is different now?

This is the result of inaction

Without examining the years of inaction in the United States, it is impossible to explain the shift in the ransomware crisis. During Donald Trump’s presidency, the global ransomware crisis developed to an incredible degree. Even as a critical infrastructure in the United States, city, with Oil pipeline Was hit, the Trump administration did not take any measures to solve this problem, it just ignore Most Americans.

The ransomware boom began at the end of the Obama White House, and the Obama administration has dealt with it as part of its overall cybercrime response. This involves allowing agents around the world to achieve tactical victories in non-cooperative countries, but even as the ransomware itself flourishes, the priority of defending against such attacks has fallen under Trump’s leadership.

Today, the Biden administration is making unprecedented attempts to solve this problem. The White House stated that the hackers behind the Colonial Pipeline and JBS ransomware attacks are in Russia and are currently working to involve the Department of Homeland Security and the Ministry of Justice, but President Biden plans to discuss these attacks at the upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin6 On June 16, the problem is not limited to the relationship between the two countries.

Is also the result of new tactics

When the ransomware industry took off five years ago, the business model of this type of attack was fundamentally different and much simpler. Ransomware gangs indiscriminately infect vulnerable machines at first, and don’t care much about what they are doing or who they are targeting.

Today, operations are more complicated and expenditures are higher. Ransomware gangs now pay fees to professional hackers”Big game hunting“And look for large-scale targets that can pay huge ransoms. Hackers sell access to gangs, and the gangs blackmail them. Everyone gets so generously paid that they become more and more difficult to resist—especially because of these gangs. Usually will not suffer any consequences.

A safe haven for criminals

This leads to the next dimension of the problem: hackers work in countries where prosecution can be avoided. They run a huge criminal empire and are effectively immune to all attempts to control them. This is the question Biden will ask Putin in the coming weeks.

The problem is not limited to Russia, but obviously, it is not as simple as Moscow commanding hackers. But the Kremlin’s tolerance for cybercriminals—sometimes even working directly with them—is a real contributor to the booming crime industry.To change this situation, the United States and other countries must work together Against the country Otherwise, they think there is no problem with American hospitals and pipelines being extorted for ransom. A safe harbor for cybercriminals, coupled with the most unregulated cryptocurrency used to promote crime, makes it very beneficial for hackers.

We are all more connected and insecure than ever

There is also the inevitable fact that weak network security combined with ubiquitous connectivity equals an increasingly vulnerable target. Everything in the United States—from our factories to our hospitals—is connected to the Internet, but many of them are not fully protected.

On a global scale, free markets have repeatedly failed to solve some of the world’s biggest cybersecurity problems. This may be because the ransomware crisis is a scale problem that the private sector cannot solve alone.

As ransomware and cybercrime increasingly become a national security threat — and have the potential to harm humans, just like an attack on a hospital — it is clear that government action is required. So far, officials from the most powerful country in the world have mainly successfully witnessed the development of this disaster.

instead, What must change This is a global partnership between countries and companies to deal with ransomware.There is momentum to change the status quo, including Recent major cybersecurity executive orders Get out of the White House. But this work has just begun.


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