These cases include ransomware infection and DDoS attacks! Enjoy

Everyone has been talking about the growing threat of ransomware and non-stop distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. Previously, DDoS attacks were part timers but with the idea of demanding money through ransomware, there have been several cases of non-stop DDoS attacks forcing users to pay the attackers in order to stop the attacks.

Here are seven cases in which victims had to pay the attackers to either get their files unlocked which were locked due to ransomware infection or those who had their servers facing downtime due to non-stop DDoSing.

Related: How to secure your cyber infrastructure from threats like ransomware?

1. ProtonMail

ProtonMail is known for its anti-NSA stance and vows to provide complete encrypted email service but in November 2015 the company suffered a series of non-stop DDoS attacks by unknown attackers who ended up demanding 15 bitcoins which in conversion to USD are about $6000. Surprisingly, ProtonMail paid the exact amount yet the attackers kept on DDoSing the firm‘s cyberinfrastructure for days.

2. Tewksbury Police Department, Massachusetts

Believe it or not, even Police are not safe from such attacks. In 2014 Tewksbury Police Department witnessed their computers being locked up with a message in which hackers asked for €460/$500 in bitcoins in order to unlock the records. Left with no choice the department had to pay and got their files back. 

Apparently, one of the officers fell prey to phishing, which is amongst the most commonly adopted tricks in the online scam methodologies and opened an infected email attachment that ultimately got the crypto-malware installed on the computer system.

3. Midlothian Village Police Department, Illinois

In January 2015Midlothian Village Police had their department files locked up after one of the officials opened a compromised email pointing to the malicious software. The department was forced to pay an unknown amount of money to get their files unlocked.

4. Swansea Police Department, Massachusetts

In November 2014, Swansea Police Department also had to decide on paying ransom when the infamous Cryptolocker infected one of the computers. The department paid $750 for two Bitcoins — an online currency — to decrypt several images and word documents in its computer system, Swansea Police Lt. Gregory Ryan told Herald News.

5. Dickson County Sheriff’s Office, Tennessee

In October 2014, the Sheriff’s Office in Dickson County, Tennessee, had to pay-off $500 to cyber criminals for retrieving the unlocking key for approx., 72,000 files. The Tennessean reported that Sheriff’s Office computer system was attacked from an outside source and infected with “CryptoWall.” ransomware.

6. Midlothian Police Department, Texas

The IT department at Midlothian PD was smart enough to keep a backup of their data so when cyber criminals infected their computer with ransomware and demanded $500 ransom the department refused to pay however it later found that there is no other option but to pay since the backup files were also locked up in the malicious encryption process, according to Chicago Tribune.

7. Nascar Race Team:

In July 2016, hours before the race one of the Nascar race teams witnessed their chief’s computer getting hacked with a ransomware malware locking up his files and demanding ransom in Bitcoin. The message on his screen warned that ”all of his files are locked” and they only have 55 hours to pay the money. The team then contacted the FBI who told the chief to simply pay the ransom and that’s what they did, lucky them they got the decryption key from the attackers.

Solution: 

What would you do should your system be infected with ransomware? as discussed before the FBI tell victims to pay the ransom, however, this is not the solution as it only encourages cyber criminals to boost their activities. But keeping a backup will help you big time. Also, Kaspersky and Intel assisted by Europol and Dutch Police recently launched an anti-ransomware website ‘No More Ransom in order to assist Internet users against ransomware by recovering their files for absolutely free to stop them from payment ransom to criminals.

Must Read: Cyber Criminals using Locky Ransomware against Healthcare Industry

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Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.