Week 2 - Ransomware

Race against ransomware

Ransomware is a specific category of malware that causes harm to the computer and the computer system. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency defines ransomware as “an ever-evolving form of malware designed to encrypt files on a device, rendering any files and the systems that rely on them unusable.” The average cost of a ransomware attack on businesses is $133,000 (SafeAtLast). Threat actors are the hackers behind these attacks. They often form a group to execute the attacks.

Ransomware is a global challenge

According to the Institute for Security and Technology, “Ransomware is not just financial extortion; it is a crime that transcends business, government, academic and geographic boundaries. It has disproportionately impacted the healthcare industry during the COVID pandemic, and has shut down schools, hospitals, police stations, city governments and U.S. military facilities.” Since the pandemic began, the FBI reported a 300% increase in reported cybercrimes (IMC Grupo). Half a million Zoom user accounts were compromised and sold on a dark web forum in April 2020 (CPO Magazine). Ransomware has become a global challenge. Organizations all over the world are at risk of these attacks. An attack in one country can easily spread across borders, intentionally or not.

TAMU-CC defends against ransomware

In thirty-day cycle TAMU-CC e-mail servers block over 600 unique messages containing malware and 87,000 phishing attempts. In this same time Microsoft Defender for endpoint prevented 42 attempts to access malicious URL’s. These activities can lead to malware being installed on a device and exposing the University to risk.


Another reason for the growing global issue is cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin is untraceable, making it nearly impossible to catch the hackers. This form of currency is also borderless: it is a global currency that can be used by anyone.

You can make a difference

Despite the size of the problem, one person can really make a difference. Remember the most important behaviors to help stop an attack on your organization: go slow, be suspicious, verify, report any concerns and follow policies and procedures.