Hacking Epidemic: National Security Threat
(Photo : Getty Image: Sean Gallup)

The hacking epidemic in America continues to be the country's biggest security threat, with more than seven ransomware attacks happening in one hour.

In 2020, America had a total of 65,000 ransomware attacks, and 2021 does not seem to be a better year in terms of the hacking epidemic. The country continues to experience both large and small attacks, and the situation seems to be getting worse.

At first, the ransomware attacks were seen as nuisances, therefore, not taken seriously. However, the situation kept progressing until it became a national security problem.

More and more cybercriminals target essential components of the country's economic infrastructure, and innocent employees' data are at risk.

Colonial Pipeline, JBS, and Other Ransomware Attacks

Probably one of the most significant ransomware attacks of 2021, the Colonial Pipeline incident sparked a wide-scale panic buying situation. The attack resulted in emptied gas stations all over the Southeast, while the fuel company's operation temporarily stopped.

The cybercrime against Colonial Pipeline had a domino effect on the economy. A state of emergency was announced, and gasoline prices went up.

As a resolution, the company had to pay $4.4 million to access its IT systems.

In an interview with NPR, CEO Joseph Blount stated that paying was the correct choice for the entire country.

Read Also: New Ransomware Targets US Congress Members: Did It Complete Breach iConstituent?

Despite retrieving most of the ransom payment that Colonial Pipeline gave to their attacker, America's Justice Department said they could not promise that they would have the resources to recover costs made every time. There are too many ransomware attacks happening, and it would be impossible to stop all of them.

A few weeks after the incident, another ransomware attack on JBS, the world's largest meat supplier, happened. Because of the attack, Colonial Pipeline shut down some of its plants, and meat prices went up.

The issue affected America and countries like Australia because JBS supplies meat to other countries as well. And just recently, the latest ransomware attack happened to LineStar Integrity Services, with 70GB of employee data were leaked.

The Reason for the Hacking Epidemic

According to GPB, experts said that most companies and large institutions continue to neglect their IT systems, which means that they are overexposed to hacking incidents. And with the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are left more vulnerable because more Americans now use private modems and routers as they work from home.

Since almost everyone is on the internet and has access to computers, smartphones, and tablets, stopping ransomware attacks would be tough.

By surfing the dark web, cybercriminals can easily find crucial malware. Their courage is also fueled by the growing popularity of various cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Dogecoin because it makes evading the law and financial regulators easier than ever before.

Alternative currencies are excellent payment methods for ransomware crimes because they offer anonymity, and country-to-country regulations are minimal.

The crypto market has become a massive influence for the attacks, and most companies are now investing in cryptocurrencies so that they have a backup plan if ever they get attacked.

The most fundamental reason for the hacking epidemic is because ransomware attacks work, and they will continue to work in the future.

GPB also reported that Holden Triplett, founder of Trenchcoat Advisors, stated that the current ransomware spike is only the beginning of it all -- and the situation will get a lot worse.

Related Article: Colonial Pipeline Resumes Operation After Ransomware Hack, Says Fuel Supply Will Take Days to Return to Normal

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Written by Fran Sanders

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