If you haven’t yet heard of “ransomware”, these next few sentences may be a bit frightening.
Cyber warfare is evolving at a breakneck pace, as the rise of the internet has humanity hurtling toward a singularity that many of us never believed would come. We spend a vast majority of our time these days connected, somehow, to the rest of the world. We book hotels and airfare online. We register our vehicles through a handy portal on DMV websites. Heck, we even take pictures of what we’re eating to share online.
But what happens when bad actors abuse the new necessity of the online world? The City of Baltimore found out recently as they were struck by a ransomware attack that locked the municipality out of their computer systems pending a large ransom being paid to the anonymous hostage takers.
Baltimore has now been given a deadline to comply by their cyber captors.
Hackers are demanding a ransom from Baltimore City, and have warned the City would lose its data after 10 days.
The deadline is on Friday.
“I think if they delete data, we’re going to be in a world of hurt,” said Chris Sachse, ThinkStack.
Sachse is the CEO at ThinkStack, a Baltimore cybersecurity firm.
He said if the hackers have access to any backup systems, it could mean trouble.
“It’s still somewhat of an active crime scene, so they’re trying to follow the bread crumbs to see who did this,” Sachse said.
The total being asked for by the hackers is approximately $100,000, in the form of untraceable cryptocurrency – a figure that is set to raise every fourth day should this cyber terrorists’ demands not be met.
And while $100K isn’t an enormous sum by any means, paying these criminals is no guarantee that the systems would even be restored. Furthermore, capitulating to these cretins would only embolden future attacks on cyber infrastructure around the nation.