The Daily Journal | California Lawyer
I Could Be Prosecuted for Paying Ransomware Ransom! How is that Possible?
February 15, 2021
By Daniel B. Garrie & Hon. Gail Andler
As our world becomes increasingly technologically driven, the risk of cybercrimes rises exponentially. The global pandemic has resulted in many lawyers employing technologies from home, often with a computer or home network accessible to others in the household. But it is not only these home-based networks that are at risk from hackers. From identity theft, spoofing and phishing, to entire networks being brought down due to hacking, cybercrime can happen anywhere, to anyone. Ransomware is a cybercrime that prevents users from accessing their systems and files. As one could expect from the name, “ransomware” malware often encrypts data and programs on IT systems to force ransom payments from affected users in exchange for decryption and restored access to the compromised systems and data.
Ransomware attacks have been taking place for decades. Over the past few years, however, such “attacks have become more focused, sophisticated, costly, and numerous.” For example, between 2018 and 2019 reported ransomware cases rose by 37%, causing a 147% increase in losses associated with such matters. Further, rather than primarily targeting large corporations and entities that are better equipped to invest in cybersecurity solutions and protections, ransomware attacks frequently target individuals, schools, local government agencies, hospitals, and businesses of all sizes. These targets are more vulnerable because of the limited resources they have available to invest in cybersecurity measures.
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