Two high-profile cyberattacks on critical infrastructure companies over the past month have shone what experts say is a much-needed spotlight on the rising threat of ransomware.
An attack against Colonial Pipeline in May forced the company to temporarily shut down 5,500 miles of pipeline that it said supplies nearly 45 percent of the East Coast’s fuel. Colonial eventually paid the extortionists—a group known as DarkSide—nearly $5 million
in Bitcoin. The FBI has since recovered
roughly half of the ransom. Colonial confirmed the attack and thanked the FBI for its efforts
in a statement.
Just weeks later, another ransomware attack
, credited to the group REvil, struck JBS
, the world’s largest meat supplier, forcing the company to close plants across the U.S. and Australia and pay approximately $11 million in ransom.
(The values of the ransoms referenced in this story have changed over the course of the media’s coverage of the incidents because they were paid in Bitcoin, a highly volatile cryptocurrency.)
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that encrypts files on a computer or network and holds them hostage until the owner pays the attacker the requested fee….