Ransomware: A CyberScoop Special Report

In a special report, CyberScoop explores how U.S. law enforcement aims to curb digital extortion, the scope of the issue for the medical sector during a once-in-a-century pandemic, and whether there's hope to slow the onslaught of attacks.

If cyberspace were a playing field, then ransomware hackers would be running up the score.

The notion of hacking using digital extortion as a means of making money entered the public consciousness in 2016, when attackers held a California hospital hostage until administrators agreed to pay the equivalent of more than $3 million in bitcoin. Since then, a generation of scammers have relied on ransomware to demand payouts from Fortune 500 firms, medical facilities, government targets like towns and schools, as well as a diverse set of small and medium sized businesses.

As security personnel in the public and private sectors work to improve their defenses about a growing number of malware strains, the U.S. federal government is taking multiple approaches to try to fend off hackers.

Congressional lawmakers, for instance, are gathering information about ransomware as part of a larger movement to understand and mitigate emerging risks online, while experienced diplomats are considering ways that the U.S. might solve the issue on a global scale. Meanwhile, agencies including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Treasury and others are issuing regular notifications about how organizations can safeguard their data.

In this special report, CyberScoop speaks with government officials, executives, security experts and other leading decision-makers about the current scope of the ransomware problem, and possible remedies that could slow hackers’ pace.

This report will be updated in the weeks following initial publication.


Latest special reports

FBI alert on Egregor ransomware highlighted affiliate cybercrime model

by Jeff Stone • 3 years ago

Egregor is one of a number of strains classified as ransomware-as-a-service, meaning users can pay a fee to enlist the malicious code for their crime sprees.

Federal advisories detail bitcoin payments to ransomware gangs, urgency of threat

by Jeff Stone • 3 years ago

Treasury recently warned that helping to pay ransomware to any entity on its cyber sanctions list could incur civil penalties.

New global model needed to dismantle ransomware gangs, experts warn

by Shannon Vavra • 3 years ago

Tackling ransomware gangs globally is a tall order, but a path forward is taking shape.

Is Congress finally ready to pass meaningful ransomware legislation?

by Tim Starks • 3 years ago

As ransomware attacks afflict every part of the country, lawmakers might be feeling them in their congressional districts, too.

How NIST hopes network defenders will stop ransomware

by CyberScoop Staff • 3 years ago

It's an issue of protecting data integrity, says Bill Fisher.

Understanding ransomware at the Pentagon

by CyberScoop Staff • 3 years ago