FBI: 'High-Impact' Ransomware Attacks Threaten U.S. Businesses & Organizations

Friday, October 4, 2019

On Oct. 2, 2019, the FBI issued a warning regarding "high-impact" ransomware attacks stressing the risk they pose to U.S. businesses and organizations. Ransomware is a form of malware designed to attack an individual’s and/or an organization’s computer network by encrypting the data, holding it hostage until a ransom is paid.

While the frequency of ransomware attacks has remained constant, the warning stated that the attacks are becoming more targeted, more sophisticated, and more costly. The losses from ransomware attacks have increased significantly, according to complaints received by the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and FBI case information.

Attacks against state and local governments continue, but the warning said that cybercriminals are also targeting healthcare organizations, industrial companies, and the transportation sector. The warning specifically urges organizations to protect themselves against email phishing campaigns, software, and Remote Desktop Protocol vulnerabilities.

The FBI does not recommend paying a ransom. There is no guarantee that by paying the ransom the organization will regain access to its data. In some incidents victims who paid the ransom never received the decryption keys. The FBI urges all ransomware victims, regardless of whether they paid the ransom or not, to immediately report the incident to law enforcement, including the FBI. Doing so provides investigators with critical information necessary to apprehend ransomware attackers and prevent future attacks. Additionally, all NC state agencies are required to report ransomware incidents to the ESRMO Threat Management Team.

For the complete and unedited article, to include FBI technical recommendations on how to protect computer networks from these types of attacks, click here.