Recently, New Orleans was the victim of a cyber attack. Last year, Atlanta went through the same problem, which took nearly $17 million to clean up. Baltimore, Cleveland, San Bernardino; all cities that have been victims this year. They aren’t alone. For as many major cities that have been victims, there are tons of smaller cities and towns that have been hit as well. Ransomware is a billion-dollar industry, ranging globally anywhere from $8 billion to $75 billion per year.
Ransomware is not new to the security industry or IoT. It involves age-old tricks as well, such as phishing, which is how 90% of these attacks begin. Once a hacker breaks into the system, they then encrypt essential data, files, and software rendering the user unable to gain access to their most vital electronic counterparts. The hacker then demands payment (usually in the form of a cryptocurrency) to decrypt your files.
The future of cities shifts toward connected and data-driven infrastructures for things like the traffic & transport industry, automated street lighting, security, and autonomous city resource management. This trend of everything being “smart” and connected will continue to lead to more people with the know-how to take advantage of the risks that come with this technology. They will continually exploit weaknesses in these very systems for as long as they can.
Aside from the obvious issues––being locked out of files and either paying to restore them or paying the ransom––the more the world continues to grow and the more that we get plugged in, the bigger the risk grows. The money isn’t even the biggest issue, it’s that vital files can be crippled for days, weeks, or months until the problem is solved either by restoring data or paying up.
This is a double-edged sword. Everyone wants connectedness through the internet and the cloud, and everyone wants needs to be satisfied immediately. This is especially true in cities, municipalities and government organizations. However, this further increases the risk, and those places store some of the most personal data.
In 2015, the FBI leaned toward the position of paying ransoms. However, their stance has now changed. They began advising victims to consider the true risk of ponying up. Hackers don’t play by the rules; there is no guarantee you will get your data back, nor that they won’t see you as an easy target and come after you again. The solution: unanimously stop paying ransomware hackers so that eventually they’ll stop doing it.
This is why in today’s world it’s important to support the people and companies you can trust. AvantGuard has been in the security industry for 43 years now and has seen it all. Reach out to us if you’re looking for a company that embraces the rapidly developing changes in the security industry and will keep you, your family, and your business protected.