The Rise in “Ransom”-ware

Ransom-ware is loosely defined as malware that attacks the victim’s machine and prevents them from using their system until they pay a ransom using Bitcoin, an anonymous crypto-currency. Hackers seem to target systems that have some sort of time sensitive significance to them, like university researchers Dropbox files, hospital databases, and school district networks. In the case of some hacked university researchers, Dropbox simply restored the users files as soon as them were notified of the breach.


Unfortunately for other researchers at the same university, in Calgary, Canada, their data wasn’t as easily recovered. The university paid $15,500 for the decryption keys as an extra precaution, in the case that they weren’t able to regain their systems. This is proof that public institutions typically have to cave to this kind of extortion, due to their vulnerable systems, and time sensitive data.

Scientific American reported this month,

“This kind of “ransomware” attack is becoming increasingly common, says James Scott, a cybersecurity specialist at the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology, a think-tank in Washington DC — and universities are hardly immune. In the United

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