Need To Prevent Future Attacks on Local Governments After Atlanta Was Attacked-For 6 Bitcoins
Dear Friends & Neighbors,
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On March 22, 2018, around 5:40 am, the city of Atlanta was under siege by hackers who demanded 6 bitcoins, equivalent to $51,000 before releasing key public services. The hackers installed the SamSam ransomware and demanded $51,000 worth of 6 Bitcoins in order to release all computers. The hack was discovered due to lack of services and functionality revolving around public services. The bill paying systems and court related documentations of the city have been affected by the ransomware. Atlanta is currently recovering from this attack, the worst cyber attack on any U.S. local government, crippling Georgia’s state capital online network for five days before city employees were able to turn their computers back on. This should serve as a warning to all American cities and local governments: extensive back-ups and extensive disaster recovery plans are essential for running cities smoothly….heck, this is a good rule of thumb for running any organizations.
Ransomware is a type of malicious software from cryptovirology that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. While some simple ransomware may lock the system in a way which is not difficult for a knowledgeable person to reverse, more advanced malware uses a technique called cryptoviral extortion, in which it encrypts the victim’s files, making them inaccessible, and demands a ransom payment to decrypt them. In a properly implemented cryptoviral extortion attack, recovering the files without the decryption key is an intractable problem – and difficult to trace digital currencies such as Ukash and Bitcoin are used for the ransoms, making tracing and prosecuting the perpetrators difficult.
Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that is disguised as a legitimate file that the user is tricked into downloading or opening when it arrives as an email attachment. However, one high-profile example, the “WannaCry worm“, traveled automatically between computers without user interaction.
Starting from around 2012 the use of ransomware scams has grown internationally. in June 2013, vendor McAfee released data showing that it had collected more than double the number of samples of ransomware that quarter than it had in the same quarter of the previous year. CryptoLocker was particularly successful, procuring an estimated US $3 million before it was taken down by authorities, and CryptoWall was estimated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to have accrued over US $18m by June 2015
Photographed, gathered, written, and posted by Windermere Sun-Susan Sun Nunamaker
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