Of recent ransomware has become quite a lucrative way of hackers to get paid any money they demand effortlessly. Ransomware also seems the most profitable type of malware attack in history amid the international efforts to stem the global crime wave and because of this I guess hackers just prefer it nowadays.
Los Angeles Valley College (LAVC) computer network was recently infected with ransomware by hackers who went further to demand for $28,000 payment in Bitcoins for the college to recover their files. The criminals even gave the college a time limit of 1 week to pay the ransom or the college risk losing all of its relevant data in the event that they didn’t pay in time.
This vicious cyber-attack happened during winter break and it surely did cause a lot of disruption to various significant aspects of the college including online, financial aid, email and voicemail systems, not forgetting locking out over 1800 students and staffs from accessing their computers. One thing common with ransomware victims is that they usually don’t do proper backups of their data and this puts them in a hard situation in such events and so was the case with the college.
By virtue of the time they were given, the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) finally agreed to pay the ransom demand of $28,000 in Bitcoin for criminals to resume their operations after gaining the decryption keys. According to the college officials, it was ultimately cheaper for them to pay the ransom than to remove the unknown ransomware virus from their systems to recover data.
The college was given the ransomware decryption key to regain access to its crucial data immediately after they paid the ransom.
The college seems to have had sheer luck in this situation since in regards to ransomware there is really no specific guarantee that one will get the right decryption key after meeting demands of the hackers. For example, recently discovered killdisk ransomware that targets Linux machines demands $218,000 to decrypt, but in return, wipes out all the data permanently and so it’s always tricky dealing with ransomware.
In addition, last year in march one of the most notorious occurrences of ransomware attacks took place where the computers and all valuable data of a Los Angeles hospital including patient data was locked down by hackers and it cost the hospital $17,000 to recover their data.
Generally there was a huge increase in ransomware threats in the past year in both figures and nature of sophistication and with all these threats the only way to secure yourself and guard against this is to deploy automated and isolated backup mechanisms for your data. That will ensure great safety for you.