Hostage situation in a small town reported by CCN. The town has been held hostage until the ransom is paid.
Midland, Ontario, Canada. A small town of 16,000 people. A peaceful city, considered as an economic center of the region with a 125-bed hospital and airport. One day citizens find that their payments are not processing, emails are not working and every single municipal system is down. They’ve been attacked, becoming victims of a ransomware by cybercriminals.
Attackers are demanding a hefty ransom in bitcoins from the town, otherwise, they claim, the systems will stay shut. An order will leave its place to chaos. Midland desperately needs its systems since they can’t even process wedding applications. Security consultants concur about paying the ransom to get back to normal as soon as possible.
Midland gave in to the attackers’ demands, possibly recovering from the attack, on the other hand potentially encouraging criminals. It is a very lucrative business after all.
The town is not alone when it comes to paying the ransom. It was reported that earlier, similar criminals made more than $5,9 million in three years via a ransomware SamSam according to a research.
Earlier this year two Canadian banks fell victims to hackers when they held hostage the personal information of over 90,000 clients.
At the end of 2017, Ukrainian criminals kidnapped Exmo Bitcoin exchange manager Pavel Lerner. Lerner was freed by his abductors after paying a ransom of more than $1M in Bitcoins.
There are other examples of such cases, however, victims claim to refuse to pay the ransom.
In July an Indian Hospital, Mahatma Gandhi Mission New Bombay Hospital lost control of their computers due to a ransomware attack. Criminals demanded bitcoin in order to give back access. Hospital refused and directed the matter to authorities.
Again in July, a 65-year old businessman was kidnapped in Cape Town and according to the resources he was held hostage for 50 Bitcoins ransom. However, the authorities didn’t confirm this directly.
Cybercriminals are upping their game while the reputation of Bitcoin diminishes by such attacks.