Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - 47

[ MARKETS ] BUSINESS
To pay or
not to pay?
The ethical dilemma of
ransomware attacks.
by Mark E. Battersby
T
HE RECENT PROLIFERATION OF WELL-PUBLICIZED
cyberattacks has revealed ransomware to be a serious national security
threat. Still largely hidden from public view, however, are the attacks
on small businesses, including many within the industrial, specialty and
advanced textile industry, that don't make the headlines.
Surprisingly, while ransomware attacks have become a multibillion-dollar
threat, the average payment demanded was only $310,000 in 2020, with many
payments in the $25,000 to $30,000 range. So, what can an industrial fabrics
professional do to reduce the risk of becoming a ransomware victim?
What is ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that prevents a
business from accessing its computer files, systems or networks and demands
payment of a ransom for their return. Ransomware can be unknowingly
downloaded onto a computer by opening an email attachment, clicking an
ad, following a link or even visiting a website that's embedded with malware.
Once the code is loaded on a computer, it will lock access to the computer
itself or to data and files stored there. More menacing versions can encrypt
files and folders on local drives, attached drives and even networked
computers. Obviously, ransomware attacks can cause costly disruptions
to operations and the loss of critical information and data.
In many situations, the targeted business is unaware its computers
have been infected. It is usually discovered only when data can no longer
be accessed, or a computer message pops up alerting users to the attack
and the attacker demands ransom payments.
Paying the piper-or not
Top U.S. law enforcement officials discourage meeting ransomware demands.
The FBI is reportedly doubling down on its guidance to affected businesses
and its message remains: don't pay the cybercriminals.
Ransomware attackers usually demand that businesses send cryptocurrency
in order to unlock data, with amounts ranging from a few hundred dollars to
millions of dollars. The ethics and morality of making these payments aside,
there is the question of how to make a ransomware payment and how to use
the cybercurrency market.
Payment mechanics
Surprisingly, small-scale ransomware attackers often demand payment to be
wired through Western Union or paid through a specialized text message. In
fact, some demand payment in the form of gift cards such as Amazon or iTunes
gift cards. But the majority of ransomware payments involve cryptocurrencies.
Bitcoin is the most popular currency demanded by ransomware attackers, but
other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, Zcash and Monero are also frequently
demanded. Although traditional financial institutions have their hands tied
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Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021

Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - Cover1
Specialty Fabrics Review December 2021 - Cover2
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