The High Price of Education

A high profile case of ransomware, as reported in the Chicago Tribune, hit a California college hard last month. Los Angeles Valley College got hacked and held for ransom to the tune of $28,000 in bitcoin in December, paid out in Bitcoin. "It was the assessment of our outside cybersecurity experts that making a payment would offer an extremely high probability of restoring access to the affected systems, while failure to pay would virtually guarantee that data would be lost," said district chancellor Francisco C. Rodriguez in a statement on the decision to pay the ransom, according to the Tribune.

Richard Walters, SVP of security products at Intermedia, told PC & Tech Authority that there is a shift in how these cyberattacks on schools and other large institutions are occurring. "The emerging malware is no longer infiltrating one computer at a time; it's threatening to take entire businesses offline for extended periods of time," says Walters. "Now more than ever, companies need to prepare for a ransomware attack by implementing fully-baked business continuity plans that incorporate off-site, real–time cloud backups. This ensures file archives can't be deleted and employees can access clean versions of the files on another device."

MSNBC reported that the FBI expected that ransomware payments in 2016 to exceed $1 billion in total.