US released Online hub to help ransomware victims

United States government has released an online hub for victims of ransomware attacks.

Key Points

  • Online hub will make it easier for companies and municipalities to find resources and get assistance in case they are targeted by cyber hackers.
  • US government also announced to pay reward up to $10 million to anyone who will provide fruitful tips for tracking down cyber criminals backed or directed by foreign governments. Reward payments may be paid in cryptocurrency.
  • Online hub is an initiative by Justice and Homeland Security departments.
  • It is the first central hub that will consolidate ransomware resources from all agencies.

Background

This website was launched in the backdrop of ransomware attack against Colonial Pipeline Co. that led to widespread shortages at gas stations along East Coast of United States. Justice Department later helped Colonial Pipeline in recovering $2.3 million in cryptocurrency ransom it paid to hackers. Also in 2020, around $350 million in ransom was paid to cyber criminals. Amount has increased by 300% increase as compared to 2019.

What is Ransomware?

Ransomware is a malware from crypto virology, threatening to publish victim’s personal data or block access to it unless some ransom is paid. Some simple ransomware only locks the system, which can be reversed. Advanced malware uses technique called cryptoviral extortion, that encrypts victim’s files and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them.  Ransomware attacks are carried using a Trojan, that user is tricked into downloading or opening it when it arrives through email attachment. WannaCry worm (a ransomware) travelled automatically to computers without user interaction.

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