Senators to Investigate Ransomware Trends

The increasing trend of cyber criminals who take users computers hostages and lock their files for ransom has been bothering the Senate Judiciary Committee to a great extent lately.

Considering the increasing threat, the Senate committee reported that they will hold a hearing entitled “Ransomware: Understanding the Threat and Exploring Solutions” on May 18, 2016.

Usually, the ransomware schemes involve hackers who access a network, encrypt all the files they can find, and demand ransom from whoever owns the network in exchange for letting them access their files again.

Lately, the criminal practice has been constantly increasing and cyber criminals have been targeting everyone from clueless parents and hospitals to police departments and schools worldwide.

Recently, the FBI has issued a warning alert about ransomware, and the Department of Homeland Security has warned about the attacks specifically targeting federal employees.

According to DHS, until this March, 29 federal agencies had been targeted by ransomware since June 2015, although the attacks were all unsuccessful and no agency had to pay a ransom.

In June, last year, the FBI reported that 992 victims of CryptoWall ransomware had come forward to report ransom payments totaling $18 million.

In November 2015, a Cyber Threat Alliance report estimated the total losses from CryptoWall at a staggering $325 million.

The Judiciary Committee did not respond to an email asking what Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) was hoping to learn at the hearing. Besides, the committee did not release a witness list in announcing the hearing.

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