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First step in fighting ransomware? Stop paying cyberthieves

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Running a business or a government agency is difficult enough during the pandemic. Imagine being broadsided by a ransomware attack.

All at once, computer screens freeze. A cybergang pops up to explain the methodology for paying the ransom in cryptocurrency, and what happens if the requisite bitcoins never show up.

Encryption will entomb gigabytes of data. Social Security numbers, driver's license numbers, medical information and other personal data will get spilled out online for identity thieves and other criminals to devour. Businesses could go bankrupt, government operations could seize up.

Some companies and government bodies have succumbed to cyber thieves' demands. Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul opted not to pay. His office was hit on April 10 with a ransomware attack that, according to the hackers, amounted to a theft of about 200 gigabytes of data. The gang, which called itself DoppelPaymer, threatened to release the data, some of which contained personal identity information.

"Yes, it angers me. Yes, it frustrates me, and most certainly, it's embarrassing to have it happen to your agency," Raoul told the Chicago Tribune and the Better Government Association. He wouldn't divulge the ransom sought, but he said that "whatever the amount........

© The Korea Times

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