Georgia Court System Attacked By Ransomware As Demand For Bitcoin Increases In Cryptojacking Era
Ransomware is one of the most annoying cyber threats that companies and the public system have faced in this decade. After disrupting the government of Baltimore, a ransomware attack has made its next victim: the court system of Georgia.
Recently, the court officials of Georgia have received a letter that threatened to make the whole system go offline if the ransom was not paid.
Bruce Shaw, an official that worked in the system, told the media that the systems of the court were compromised by a ransomware system and that the team has not discovered yet how to solve the threat, but they decided to quarantine and shut down everything.
The main reason for doing that is because the court feared that the information of private cases might be leaked in case the system was not fully shut down. The officials were pretty fast in closing down the system, so they believe that they at least protected the information from any threat.
According to them, the main advantage of this approach is that it gives them a chance to fight back. They can be protected from hackers now and to create new barriers against possible attacks that can occur in the future.
Cryptojacking Took Ransomware’s Place
Ransomware is often seen in “waves”. For instance, a major wave happened between 2015 and 2016 and 2018 also featured some prominent attacks. However, no wave was as big as the one in 2015 until now.
One of the reasons why ransomware was not so prominent in the last couple of years was mostly because of cryptojacking took its place.
In case you are not familiar with the term, cryptojacking is to use someone’s computer in order to mine tokens with stolen computational power. As it is harder to detect than ransomware, which often is not paid and cause huge problems that attract the attention of the media, cryptojacking is pretty stealthy.
Ransomware is far from dead, however. The increase in the price of crypto may have made cryptojacking very attractive, but ransomware keeps to have some charm. Why is that? Because it is expensive not to pay up.
The last time the government of Atlanta was attacked by ransomware, they had to spend over $7 million USD in order to solve the issue. The ransom was just $100,000 USD.
Obviously, it is never a good idea to pay ransomware, but it is easy to understand how it can be very attractive to people who do not want to pay the costs of working around it.
Atlanta had no access to the city’s court system for months during the attack and several activities continued to be affected months after the attack happened. The social costs were very high.
The decision is pretty hard here. Either the government can pay and then it will be basically asking to be the victim of ransomware again or they could use methods which will spend a lot more money. Unfortunately, the only good way to solve this issue is to basically create technology that can be used in protection from this.