(CNSNews.com) -- “2016 is the year ransomware will wreak havoc on America’s critical infrastructure community,” warned a new report released Wednesday by the Institute for Critical Infrastructure Technology (ICIT).
“’To Pay or Not to Pay’ will be the question fueling heated debate in boardrooms across the Nation and abroad,” predicts ICIT, a non-profit, non-partisan group that acts as “a conduit between the private sector, federal agencies, and the legislative community.”
Ransomware is a cyberattack that holds a victim’s computer system for ransom by encrypting data files or completely locking it down. Cybercriminals then demand a ransom for the decryption key, threatening to destroy the data if the victim does not comply.
“Ransomware is rampant,” ICIT reports, with some attacks posing as bogus law enforcement announcements.
Businesses, healthcare organizations, educational, religious, and financial institutions have all been victims of ransomware, which is often accompanied by denial of service attacks that cost victims an average of $500 per minute, notes the report, which was co-authored by ICIT senior fellows James Scott and Parham Eftekhari.
Even police and fire departments have been targeted.