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Hacking and Ransomware Remain a Significant Challenge

$600 million in ransom payments in 2021.

With all the other problems in the world ranging from COVID-19 to Ukraine to baby formula shortages, cybersecurity continues to chug along as a significant problem for all sorts of organizations, in government and in the private sector. See below:

From the Washington Post:

“A group of top cyber experts released a task force report one year ago laying out 48 detailed recommendations to combat the scourge of ransomware attacks.

“One year later, they’re wrestling with the fact the damage caused by ransomware, in which hackers lock up victims' computers and demand payment to unlock them, is likely as high as ever. Ransomware payments by victims spiked 70 percent in 2021 over the previous year's levels. “Ransomware continues to hammer on health care, continues to hammer on education and continues to hammer on industry — and these [hackers], in many different ways, continue to act with impunity,” Philip Reiner, a co-chair of the Ransomware Task Force and CEO of the Institute for Security and Technology (IST), told me.

“That’s not to say there haven't been some successes. ‘After a year, we hoped to see some impact. And I think at this point we can safely say that there has been some impact,’ Reiner said. But ransomware is an ongoing challenge for the task force, which is hosting an event marking its first anniversary starting at 10:30 a.m. today.


“The speaker lineup is a testament to how critical the government considers ransomware defense at this point. It includes a who’s who of top government cyber officials including National Cyber Director Chris Inglis, CISA Director Jen Easterly and Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco. There will be two big messages, according to a preview conversation I had with Reiner and IST Chief Strategy Officer Megan Stifel, another task force co-chair.

1. Government and industry have devoted a remarkable amount of resources to combating ransomware during the past year — far more than has been committed to any previous cyber challenge.

2. And yet there’s a long way to go. Available data suggests ransomware attacks have held steady or are increasing and many of the likeliest victims, including schools and small businesses, are no better protected than they were one year ago.

“Victims paid over $600 million in ransom payments in 2021, per the firm Chainalysis, a 70 percent increase over 2020. And there’s been limited progress on some big goals, such as making it tougher to secretly transfer ransoms using cryptocurrency.”
Disaster Zone by Eric Holdeman is dedicated to sharing information about the world of emergency management and homeland security.