As online crime has come into its own, ransomware—a particularly insidious type of cyber attack—has emerged as a favorite of cyber criminals. Not unlike holding a hostage in the real world, ransomware attacks function by holding networks, devices or data hostage, in the hope that victims will pay for their liberation.
The approach has become widespread. Nationally, it is estimated that more than 4,000 such attacks now occur daily, a 300 percent increase since 2015. What’s more, nearly 10,000 people and organizations pay extortion money to cyber criminals each month, with an average ransom of $679 in 2016, nearly doubled from a year earlier.An example of one common type of ransomware could be seen in the Jan. 6 attack on Los Angeles Community College. Eager to mitigate the harm and disruption to students, the college elected to pay the demanded $28,000 ransom to decrypt the computer systems and files the criminals