Defense Against the Rising Ransomware Threat
Now we need to talk about a new threat that's coming on the horizon. This is one that I mentioned during our first lessons today, ransomware. Ransomware is basically an automated cyber attack. We know that automation is the future of the world. It's happened in the auto industry, it's now happening in warehouses and guess what? Criminals have now created their very own automated tools that will help bad guys break into your computers. I mentioned in my book Future Crimes that today the overwhelming majority of cyber crime is committed by algorithms. It is entirely scripted and ransomware is a great example of that. They took a crime that previously would've required four or five people to kidnap somebody and hold them hostage and go collect the payout, run from the FBI and try not to be surveilled and all that. And they've just put it all together online and scripted it. They've done it in a way that scales phenomenally which is why we see that massive growth in ransomware. When you ge...
t attacked by ransomware, it looks something like this. You'll see a big red pop-up on your screen telling you that you're infected. Then you'll get a notice like this, which is actually quite amazing. You're told that you must pay to get access back to your data. Ransomware uses encryption which is normally a good thing and uses it against you. Here, the criminals take your own files and they use their secret key to go ahead and lock you out of your photos, out of your email, out of your videos. All of your favorite data, they now hold. And the only way to get it back is to pay them. They give you 48 hours to pay them and if you don't pay within that allotted time slot, one of two things will happen. Either the ransom amount will increase. It's like okay, you didn't follow our demands. Now you have to pay more incrementally, or they'll just wipe your files permanently and you will lose everything. How do the bad guys wanna be paid? Well it turns out they don't take American Express and they don't take checks. They wanna be paid in...Bitcoin. Exactly, the crypto currency. Now here's a really interesting thing. They want Bitcoin by the way because it's very, very difficult to trace and it's pseudonymous and it's hard to figure out who's behind each Bitcoin transaction. Now, here's something that really is tough for the criminals. What happens if your grandmother or your grandfather or your uncle Fred or your Aunt Frida get hacked with ransomware? Do they know what a Bitcoin is? They do no most likely. But good news, the criminals have thought of everything. If you look closely here, they've actually included a tutorial that says getting started with Bitcoin where they will teach you how to set up a coin-based wallet so that you can pay the ransom. That is a fully automated business. The process goes like this. The hackers go ahead and generate a key, they infect you, demand ransomware, you have to take your cash, turn it into Bitcoin, and then you send the Bitcoins to the hackers. And then in theory, you should go ahead and get your data back, right? Ransomware has become a multi-billion dollar business. In the past year, $75 billion worth of lost money and productivity as a result of ransomware. And we're having bigger and bigger attacks. Have you guys heard of something called WannaCry? WannaCry, like they're gonna make you wanna cry, was one of the biggest, biggest ransomware attacks we've had. It affected victims, 200,000 people and 150 countries around the world. This is what you saw. Your computer was locked down with WannaCry. But not only did WannaCry infect people in one country, it affected them around the world and it spread super, super quickly. It wasn't just to personal computers. A lot of businesses and governments got infected with WannaCry. Here in the United States, FedEx was infected. It meant your package tracking system wasn't going to work so they had huge demands in their networks, lots of complaints as a result of WannaCry. In Spain, the Telefónica, the national telephone company went down. In France, Renault, the French car manufacturer, had the ransomware jump from their business information network to their operational network which meant that the robots that made the cars got infected with ransomware and had to stop. In Germany, the trains stopped running. In fact, here in San Francisco, the Muni stopped running when this came out because all of the turn styles were hacked with ransomware. The Muni who couldn't get rid of the ransomware had a choice. They could either let people on for free or turn off the subway system and they just ended up taking a little yellow sticky and say trains free today and opened up all the turn styles. And in the UK is where we saw the biggest damage of all. In particular, WannaCry went after hundreds and hundreds of hospitals in the UK in the National Health System. Over 200 health trusts were impacted in the UK, or hospitals were impacted in the UK. It had a profound impact on people's lives. There was one gentleman who literally had his heart surgery canceled because all of the hospital systems were infected and this actually happened a week before or after the Ariana Grande terrorist attack in Manchester. Imagine you have a terrorist attack, lots of victims, and hospitals at reduced capacity that are turning away patients because of ransomware. This is why I want you guys to understand the extent and nature of the cyber threat. It's not about your stolen credit card, it's not about identity theft. Cyber attacks can costs lives and that's why we need to come together and work against it. And if you think ransomware is bad on your laptop or you think it's bad at work or on your phone, it's now coming to all the smart devices in your home. There's actually ransomware that will impact your smart TV. How many of you have a smart TV? Quite a few of you, a TV that connect to the internet. Now there's ransomware that comes on your TV and it won't allow you to change the volume or change the channel. Unless you pay one Bitcoin, you will be subjected to 48 hours of Jerry Springer or the Kardashians or something horrible like that. We're even starting to see ransomware attack smart thermostats. This is literally the language that started to appear on thousands of smart thermostats. "Ha! You suck. Pay one Bitcoin to get back control of your own thermostat." If you're living in Phoenix and it's the summer at 120 degrees and you want air conditioning, you gotta pay. If you're in Montreal in the winter and you want heat, you've got to pay. This is becoming a really, really tough problem and there are no good answers. There is a resource I wanna commend to you. It's called nomoreransom.org. No More Ransom and you'll have this link available to you. This is actually built by Europol, the Dutch police, McAfee, and a few other companies. They have actually created tools that can help you try to get the ransomware off of your machine. But this is highly, highly technical and can go really awry. Only try this if you are a computer nerd geek. Get somebody to help you. Now the big question, should you pay? I want access back to all of my folders and all of my files. Matt Hone and Shirley would have loved to have paid a little bit of money to get back pictures of his grandparents in the first two years of his daughter's lives. I will tell you that officially the response from law enforcement, Interpol, Europol, and FBI is don't pay. There's two reasons why they don't want you to pay. Number one, we're starting to see terrorists use ransomware to support their terrorist operations 'cause they can make so much money with it and two, once you pay they actually have payer lists. "Hey, Joyce paid the last time we infected her. We're going to infect her again." The mere fact of paying means that you might be more infected. When you pay, half the time they give you access back to your stuff, half the time they don't. The best way to deal with ransomware is not to be infected. You're best defense is defense, defense, defense. Avoid the problems. How do you avoid ransomware? The great news is you guys already know how. All of these steps. If your software is up to date, if you download safely, if you're not using an administrator account, if you're thinking about what you're clicking on and the like, you can go ahead and protect yourself. The biggest thing that you can do to protect yourself is back up your data. They'll be lots of ransomware guidance, information about VPNs and other encrypted tools within your personalized digital protection plan which for those of you who purchased the class will get all of that data.