In Eastern Europe, organized crime and the government are the same thing, so the US is having a tough time stopping the ransomware attacks emanating from those countries. The LA Times has a story about a recent attack on a community college in Los Angeles:
Phil Lieberman, a cybersecurity expert, said attacks such as the one at Los Angeles Valley College are common among companies and government agencies that use the Internet.
“The attacks generally come out of Eastern Europe and cannot be stopped because the United States does not have pacts with the countries where the attacks are launched,” he said.
Ransomware is usually delivered via email or through an infected website and immediately locks a computer system, Lieberman said. After a payment is received, hackers provide an “unlock code.”
Finding the hackers isn’t the hard part, he said.
The problem, according to Lieberman, is that “the U.S. government has no way to stop them, since the governments of the countries that launch this are uncooperative and in fact benefit from the criminal activity going on within their borders.”
Here are 27 screenshots of ransomware. Most of them look like computer screens from bad 1990s hacker movies.
The American ransomware epidemic shows no signs of slowing, as the confluence of underinvestment in IT and information security and the NSA's reckless stockpiling of computer vulnerabilities means that petty criminals can extort vast sums from distant municipalities by seizing their entire networked infrastructure.
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