Hackers make headlines when they strike huge pipelines and major meat processors, but they also can target small and medium businesses.
Ransomware, unfortunately, is a growing problem – an estimated $350 million was paid last year, three times the amount paid in 2019. Although law enforcement recommends against paying the ransom, many businesses choose to pay the money and regain their computers as quickly and quietly as possible.
How they get away with it
Sophisticated hackers know how to set their price, demanding an amount that is substantial but not too substantial for the victim to pay.
And ransomware is made possible because crypto-currencies like Bitcoin are hard to track, although a U.S. task force recently was able to recover almost half the $4.4 million ransom paid by Colonial Pipeline.
Criminal hackers often set up shops in Russia and other countries that don’t allow the United States to extradite criminals. Criminal hacking was among the topics President Joe Biden discussed in June with Russia’s leader, Vladimir Putin.
Meanwhile, an organization’s best protection is to maintain tight security for its computer system.