Ransomware is Lucrative and Low Risk

Small businesses suffer most

Recently I’ve been seeing a lot of articles popping up about how lucrative the ransomware industry is becoming. It seems like every day there’s a news story about another organization locked down by a ransomware attack. It happens to schools, government agencies, and especially small business.

Small business in America is a target for these cyber criminals. They usually have more lax security than a large corporation. There are many small business owners out there thinking that the antivirus software that came on their laptop is “good enough” (trust me, I’ve heard it all from PC Matic customers over the years) until they’re hit with something crippling.

Additionally, small business is a great target because it’s small. The reality is that most of these businesses aren’t getting hit hard enough for police to put an effort into finding the hacker. It leaves most owners in charge of their own security.

2018 Stats

I did a little research. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), a branch of the FBI, reported that cyber crime raked in around $2.7 billion for 2018 alone. Reports put complaints over 350,000 for the year; over 900 a day. While every demographic seems to be affected, the majority of victims fell in the 50+ year bracket.

The FBI instituted a Recovery Asset Team that’s assisted business victims with a 75% recovery rate of funds. So there is a little bit being done. Those most at risk are still consumers. Knowing what to look for and how to spot a scam is your best chance of not becoming a victim. Check out the IC3 info page for a list of latest scams.

What’s being done?

Unfortunately, not much. Jurisdiction is a huge problem in cyber crime cases. Many of these criminals are working outside of the US. Even if they are tracked and found, it’s difficult to be able to prosecute in another country’s jurisdiction.

Also, we’re still figuring out how to prosecute cyber crime. The US legal system has been tweaked and refined over hundreds of years, however cyber crime is a very recent branch of law. Even when a criminal is caught, the law is interpreted differently across local, state, and federal courts. New precedents are being set all the time, but there isn’t a concrete guidebook yet on how to prosecute cyber criminals.

Knowledge is power

The best way to protect yourself against scams is to be informed. We’ve given you tips on this blog, and PC Matic is passionate about sharing safety information. We also encourage you to use whitelist technology in your antivirus software. And always use common sense, if it looks weird, it is weird. Double check from reliable sources.

For a list of ransomware attacks that have already taken place in 2019, you may click here. We have also created a map, see below, of the ransomware attacks that have taken place in the U.S.

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One thought on “Ransomware is Lucrative and Low Risk

  1. “Many of these criminals are working outside of the US. Even if they are tracked and found, it’s difficult to be able to prosecute in another country’s jurisdiction.”

    Why try and prosecute in another country’s jurisdiction? Why not just apply for extradition, and if the country is not being cooperative, hit them with sanctions on a government to government level.

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