Ransomware attacks quadrupled in 2016 and will double again in 2017, according to a report issued on Monday by Beazley, a provider of data breach response insurance. As we begin a new year amid these dire predictions, news of new ransomware infections drive the threat home.
Ransomware Locks Keycard System In 4-Star Hotel
On January 21st, the 4-star, $300 per night Austrian hotel Seehotel Jaegerwirt was infected by a ransomware strain that was able to penetrate their keycard system, leaving the hotel unable to create new room keys for incoming guests. Faced with the prospect of turning away revenue at the beginning of winter season, hotel managing director Christoph Brandstätter was forced to pay the equivalent of $1,600 to attackers to unlock their files and resume business. Their long term solution? Old fashioned physical locks and keys.
Police Department Doesn’t Pay Ransom, Loses 8 Years of Video Footage
Following this news, the police in Cockrell Hill (Texas) have reported losing digital evidence from as far back as 2009 as a result of refusing to pay a ransom to attackers. It appears the strain of ransomware that infected the Cockrell Hill Police Department was a Locky variant that encrypted files with the .osiris extension. The attackers demanded $4,000 to unlock bodycam and dashcam videos, surveillance photos, and word and excel documents. Because there is no guarantee that the attackers would provide a decryption key after the ransom was paid, the department opted to forgo payment, losing 8 years of evidence in the process. Apparently the Cockrell Hill Police Department doesn’t believe in offsite backups.