For more information on the FBI's cyber security efforts, read our "Addressing Threats to the Nation’s Cybersecurity" brochure. Billions of dollars are lost every year repairing systems hit by such attacks.Some take down vital systems, disrupting and sometimes disabling the work of hospitals, banks, and 9-1-1 services around the country. It runs the gamut—from computer geeks looking for bragging rights…to businesses trying to gain an upper hand in the marketplace by hacking competitor websites, from rings of criminals wanting to steal your personal information and sell it on black markets…to spies and terrorists looking to rob our nation of vital information or launch cyber strikes.
Several years ago, ransomware was normally delivered through spam e-mails, but because e-mail systems got better at filtering out spam, cyber criminals turned to spear phishing e-mails targeting specific individuals.And in newer instances of ransomware, some cyber criminals aren’t using e-mails at all—they can bypass the need for an individual to click on a link by seeding legitimate websites with malicious code, taking advantage of unpatched software on end-user computers.And since the team's inception, the Bureau has investigated hundreds of cyber crimes, and a number of those cases were deemed of such significance that the rapid response and specialized skills of the Cyber Action Team were required. Members of the team make an initial assessment, and then call in additional experts as needed.Using cutting-edge tools, the team look’s for a hacker’s signature.Since its establishment, the NCFTA has evolved to keep up with the ever-changing cyber crime landscape.
Today, the organization deals with threats from transnational criminal groups including spam, botnets, stock manipulation schemes, intellectual property theft, pharmaceutical fraud, telecommunications scams, and other financial fraud schemes that result in billions of dollars in losses to companies and consumers.
Paying a ransom not only emboldens current cyber criminals to target more organizations, it also offers an incentive for other criminals to get involved in this type of illegal activity.
And by paying a ransom, an organization might inadvertently be funding other illicit activity associated with criminals. As ransomware techniques and malware continue to evolve—and because it’s difficult to detect a ransomware compromise before it’s too late—organizations in particular should focus on two main areas: The mission of the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) is to provide the public with a reliable and convenient reporting mechanism to submit information to the FBI concerning suspected Internet-facilitated fraud schemes and to develop effective alliances with law enforcement and industry partners.
These messages include instructions on how to pay the ransom, usually with bitcoins because of the anonymity this virtual currency provides.
Ransomware attacks are not only proliferating, they’re becoming more sophisticated.
In the cyber world, such signatures are called TTPs—tools, techniques, and procedures.