The energy industry is drawing more ransomware attacks.
The reason: Energy companies have been paying ransom to regain control of their computer systems.
“We have energy moving from the 10th-most-targeted industry last year to No. 4 this year. Once an industry starts paying, attacks increase,” cyber-security expert Jim Guinn told the Wall Street Journal.
In many cases, companies had deferred plans to improve security and resilience last year because they were busy dealing with Covid-19.
Hackers also know that energy companies deal with huge sums of money.
“Many of these ransoms are a rounding error for companies,” said Chris Bronk, associate professor of computer information systems and information system security at the University of Houston.
“The ransomers are going where the payouts are. And these ransomers have gotten pretty businesslike. The outcome of paying the ransom and getting the keys to unlock your stuff has gotten a lot better. But still, every ransom that gets paid is legitimizing this illegal business activity,” Bronk told the Journal.