Ransomware Attacks Cost Businesses and Government Agencies Billions of Dollars

Homeland Security experts tell lawmakers that anyone who uses a computer is vulnerable.

WASHINGTON- Author’s note: The video above is saved from a separate story that aired on November 4, 2021.

The number and sophistication of ransomware attacks against US interests continue to rise.

According to the Wall Street Journal, victims sent at least $692 million in cryptocurrency to virtual wallets affiliated with these hackers in 2020, according to data analytics firm Chainalysis Inc.

The research documented 67 attacks in 2021 that cost over $3.5 billion in total.

“It’s no longer some kind of request to deposit a bag of money at a designated location. The use of cryptocurrencies has increased dramatically,” said Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan).

Federal government experts told lawmakers in a virtual meeting of the House Homeland Security Intelligence and Counterterrorism Subcommittee on Tuesday that everyone from the smallest family business and the local government agency to larger corporations, is vulnerable.

“Ransomware attackers are quite vigilant and seek out companies and services that they know they will want to pay for,” said Iranga Kahangama, Assistant Secretary for Cyber, Infrastructure, Risk and Resilience, Bureau of strategy, policy and plans of the US Department of Homeland Security.

“No matter the size of your organization, the slightest cyber vulnerability can be very damaging. Often the cost of cleaning up the attack can be higher than the ransom payment itself.”

According to the FBI, the best way to avoid being exposed to ransomware, or any type of malware, is to be a careful and conscientious computer user.

Ashley C. Reynolds