While street gangs like the Krypts and the Bloods continue to terrorize their own neighborhoods, they’ll always be two-bit thugs with no particular purpose. The rules are simple. Stay off of their turf and they won’t pop a cap in your ass. But the real power and fortune are online which presents sort of a problem for these current and/or future jailbirds of America. It requires a level of sophistication far beyond their tightest grasp.
Every day is payday for ransomware gangs who have no need of knives or guns with scratched-out serial numbers. Keyboards are their weapons of choice and they can bring a business to a dead halt with a few simple yet well-calculated strokes coupled with an immense knowledge of hacking, coding, decoding, and extremely intricate and detailed program writing.
Once a company’s profit wheel grinds to a halt, the gangs then demand money to get it spinning again. By doing their homework the kidnappers are aware of how much money the targeted business is losing daily and how much it’s worth to them to simply go ahead and pay them. The attacked company is helpless while their system is locked up so it works like a charm near every darn time.
One would think the U.S. government would be all over this huge crime epidemic like white on rice, but one would be incorrect since a majority of the crimes don’t affect businesses of great enough magnitude to capture their attention. So, if you’re privately owned small to medium size business gets hit, don’t go looking for help. Pay up or tape an out-of-business sign in the window. You’re choice.
Eric Goldstein, one of the top dogs with the Department of Homeland Security, failed miserably to address the growing problem when he said at a congressional hearing, “It is the position of the U.S. government that we strongly discourage the payment of ransoms.” Or said differently, it’s their position that they encourage businesses to die a quick death rather than forking out the cash needed to stay alive. Nice. Wat to go, Eric.
With many small to medium-sized businesses struggling as it is, they aren’t geared up for these attacks. And since the government hasn’t imposed any penalties for giving in to the demands of cyber-crooks, and to not pay them would be akin to drinking poison, the only question left of them to ask is, “how much is it going to cost me this time?”
The issue is much greater than it appears on the surface and the battlefields are getting larger. You may recall the recent conundrum with the entire East Coast gas supply as a pipeline, in addition to individual gas stations were being held for ransom.
Then there was the meat shortage that skyrocketed a $3 pack of bologna to former ribeye prices while a good ribeye required a second mortgage. Every bit of this was the result of heightened ransomware attacks. It was also perhaps a display of their unlimited capabilities.
Only because they’re a big fish, the FBI pulled out all of the stops to recover the $4.4 million Colonial Pipeline paid out. Joe’s Diner and ABC Used Cars got squat. Meanwhile, public officials who are still fumbling with their TVs’ newfangled remote controls are clueless about how to handle this.
In all fairness, there is bipartisan legislation to form some kind of a committee. The idea is to require ransomware attacks to be reported so the FBI can attempt tracking down the sources and recouping money for every size business impacted. This would change the Dept. of Homeland Security’s previous advice to, “Pay the money and FBI will try to get it back for you.”
While our government cronies continue to ponder the situation, ransomware attacks are increasing by the hour. Experts say its continuation only serves to finance the operations of cyber gangs which allows them to develop and increase their technology.
We’re in a crisis situation, but rest assured, Biden is doing nothing. He did warn Putin of how any cyber gangs found hanging out in Russia will no longer be tolerated, but this was in brief passing before moving on to how nice the weather is in Geneva this time of year where the two were meeting.
If your business should fall victim to an attack, which in all probability it will if it already hasn’t, don’t come to us looking for advice when our own old and frail government is lost in space.
There is a larger and unconsidered issue here that cannot go without being raised. If the Rooskies can so easily hack into America’s power grids, pipelines, businesses, be they small, medium, or large, and we have absolutely no frontline of defense, doesn’t it make you wonder who’s more technologically advanced?… Are we behind the eight-ball on this one?
This question by all means deserves an anwer. Who’s got one? Ready… set… give it your best shot…