John Oliver examines the rise of ransomware and what we can do about it - MrLiambi's blog

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Monday, 16 August 2021

John Oliver examines the rise of ransomware and what we can do about it

Despite being around for decades, ransomware attacks â€" whether targeting health systems, schools, or pipelines â€" are on the rise and so are the ransoms.

John Oliver took one of his famous deep dives into the topic on Last Week Tonight to unpack this criminal technique used by hackers involving encrypting a victim's device and forcing the owner to pay a ransom to unlock it.

"If you're thinking, 'Is it just me, or did there not used to be a massive ransomware attack every two months?' You're actually right," says Oliver. "Over the past few years, it's gone from a trickle to an absolute flood. The estimated total ransoms paid quadrupled to $350 million last year. And that is definitely an undercount, because companies often don't publicly disclose ransomware attacks, for fear of negative press or lawsuits."

Oliver begins with recent events, with a look at the ransomware attack that shut down the Colonial Pipeline and the attack that hit I.T. software company Kaseya in July that affected as many as 1,500 companies including schools and a national railway system.

As well as looking at the present harm hackers are causing, Oliver delves into the history of ransomware attacks. "The first ransomware attack actually occurred back in 1989, when a man named Joseph Popp mailed 20,000 floppy disks to public health researchers that he claimed contained AIDS research. But when they inserted the disk, their computers were infected with malware, their files were locked up, and the program demanded they mail $189 to a P.O. box in Panama," Oliver explains.

"That's right: this is a cybercrime so old, it used to require a bunch of floppy disks and two physical mailmen."

Oliver also explains what companies and individuals can do to avoid these attacks. "First, set up multi-factor authentication â€" seriously, do it right now! Second, keep your computers up to date, and also, don't click on suspicious emails," he says.

If you want more after this explainer, Trevor Noah did a good breakdown of what ransomware is on The Daily Show.



Source : http://feeds.mashable.com/~r/Mashable/~3/ms2PoPPbTnY/john-oliver-ransomware-explainer

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