Cyber-extortion losses skyrocket, says FBI

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Source:   —  April 16, 2016, at 0:05 AM

New estimates from the FBI indicate that the costs from so-called ransomware have reached an all-time high.

Cyber-extortion losses skyrocket, says FBI

New estimates from the FBI indicate that the costs from so-called ransomware have reached an all-time high.

Cyber-criminals collected $209 million in the first three months of two thousand sixteen by extorting businesses and institutions to unlock computer servers.

At that rate, ransomware is on pace to be a $1 billion a year crime this year. The FBI told CNN that the no "is quite high" because a few people "reported large losses."

The agency also said that the losses could even be bigger once other related costs from these extortion schemes are factored in. Plus: Some victims may select to pay and not report the crime.

CNN recently reported on this fast-growing crime.

In one case, a SC school district paid an estimated $10.000 when cyber-criminals locked up its computer servers.

That relatively tiny quantity is the norm because it encourages companies and institutions to pay up as soon as possible to regain control of their computers.

"The ransomware criminals realize this," said Paul Roberts, founder and editor of a website called The Security Ledger. Their business in some ways is a vol business so they don't set their ransom so high that you can't pay it. They set it at a level so they can obtain their money and move on to the next victim."

Related: U. S. hospitals are getting hit by hackers

Roberts said that many of the cyber-criminal groups work out of Russia and the former Soviet republicans in Eastern Europe.

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