Threat Management, Malware, Ransomware

FBI alert: Ransomware attacks becoming increasingly targeted and costly

The FBI yesterday issued a new public service announcement regarding the ongoing ransomware epidemic, emphasizing that attacks are becoming more targeted since early 2018, with losses increasingly significantly in that time.

The alert is intended to update and supplement a previous ransomware warning that the FBI issued back in September 2016, and specifically identifies state and local governments, health care providers, industrial companies and the transportation sector as key targets.

The new PSA also lists common infection vectors; namely, email phishing campaigns, Remote Desktop Protocol vulnerabilities and software vulnerabilities.

As in 2016, the FBI recommends that victims avoid paying attackers' ransom demands. "Paying ransoms emboldens criminals to target other organizations and provides an alluring and lucrative enterprise to other criminals," the advisory states, adding that victims are not guaranteed to get their data back intact even if they do pay.

The FBI is encouraging ransomware victims to report incidents to law enforcement, and suggests companies defending themselves by following best practices, including backing up data, emphasizing awareness and training, regularly patching, automatically updating AV and anti-malware solutions, disabling macros scripts and more.

Bradley Barth

As director of community content at CyberRisk Alliance, Bradley Barth develops content for SC Media online conferences and events, as well as video/multimedia projects. For nearly six years, he wrote and reported for SC Media as deputy editor and, before that, senior reporter. He was previously a program executive with the tech-focused PR firm Voxus. Past journalistic experience includes stints as business editor at Executive Technology, a staff writer at New York Sportscene and a freelance journalist covering travel and entertainment. In his spare time, Bradley also writes screenplays.

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