AI Could Supercharge Ransomware

By: Keith Wagstaff · June 17, 2024 · Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ransomware on the Rise

A report released this month from Google-owned (GOOGL) cybersecurity firm Mandiant found that ransomware attacks were up in 2023 versus 2022, including a whopping 75% increase in posts on data leak websites.

Ransom hackers can demand money or lock people — or companies — out of their files or computer, or leak their data.

Last year, criminals used ransomware to extract more than $1 billion from hospitals, schools, government agencies, and other organizations, according to a report from blockchain analysis firm Chainalysis. But hackers also go after small businesses and individuals.

AI and Ransomware

In April, security experts told Congress that artificial intelligence could make ransomware attacks worse. Criminals could use the technology to replicate someone’s voice, for example, and use that to encourage a victim’s employee or family member to share sensitive information, or gain access to their computer system.

How to Protect Yourself

Protecting yourself when you deal with technology comes with a few rules of thumb, including using strong passwords, using two-factor authentication, and updating your software regularly. Don’t click on strange links or ads, or open suspicious email attachments.

If you are hit with ransomware, the FBI recommends not paying the ransom , as there is no guarantee what is being held ransom will be released. You can report the attack to the Internet Crime Complaint Center .

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