Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center confirmed that it paid 40 bitcoins, equivalent to around $17,000, to bring its systems back online. The other recent attacks also involved demands for bitcoin. No longer do criminals need complicated schemes to funnel cash.
“Bitcoin takes a little bit of sophistication, but overall, it isn’t anything you can’t learn by going on Wikipedia,” Ed Cabrera, vice president of cybersecurity strategy for Trend Micro, told NBC News.
Pair that with the fact that ransomware isn’t incredibly difficult for your average hacker to acquire, and you have a formula for disaster. Overall, according to statistics from Symantec, there was an average of 1,000 ransomware attacks per day in 2015, an increase of 35 percent from the year before. This year, there have been days where that number has reached 4,000. Very few of them are attacks against hospitals, of course, but that could change as hackers eye bigger and bigger ransoms.
“Everybody is running from whatever they were doing to this,” Haley said, “because the dollars are big, the risk is low, and it’s easy to get into.”