Ransomware, the hacker intends to hold a computer and the personal information within it hostage. This is a money-making scheme and the victim has just become the hacker's ATM, and even though the hacker's primary objective may not be money, the data is held hostage until the ransom has been paid. This scenario plays out daily making its victims feel violated and wonder how much they have been compromised.
Imagine a company getting hacked; all of its company information, important sensitive data is in the hands of a hacker. The company's infrastructure, its data, has been breached despite encryption and firewalls. If you also have private citizens information, that too is now in the hands of the hacker. That information believed to be secure, is now part of the hostage situation. You have just entered into a nightmare, which could last weeks and possibly months. Hackers always cause their victims a lot of headaches and money in addition to rendering companies unable to function until they pay the ransom. That scenario is tame compared to what can and is currently happening.
When the phrase “we’ve just been hacked” is uttered, the more accurate statement would be, “it has just come to my attention that we have been hacked" because in all likelihood, your network has been compromised for a while before it is detected. Once the hacker breaches your network, they change the logs, plant their destruction, erase their footsteps and wait. Why? Simply put, they want the virus to be replicated in your backup which will re-infect the network when the data is reloaded from a back-up.
Today's hacker often isn’t interested in money; they are playing a game of chess with your company. Checkmate in this case, comes by giving them a sense of pride and bragging rights as they watch you scramble and panic trying desperately to get your network up and running again to no avail.
It becomes more serious when a hacker decides to be a "cyber-terrorist" The scope of damage and death they can paint across this country and your hometown is staggering. Here is a short list of “what it” scenarios a cyber-terrorist can do.
* A hacker in your city water system can change the amount of chlorine in the tap water to a toxic level.
* Change the direction on the highway directing two-way traffic into a single lane.
* If a pharmaceutical company is hacked, the machines that are programmed to make one type of medicine are reprogrammed. Instead of making Lisinopril for your blood pressure you ingest a dose of poison.
* If engineering drawings for a building or a bridge are changed, with an insufficient amount or an inferior gauge of steel is used the results would be catastrophic.
What if your hospital’s records are hacked and MRI or CT images are acquired, do you think that is possible or could be an issue? Please read on, what I'm about to share with you is a genuine nightmare and it's happening right now.
In a not yet made public event, a hospital system was hacked and their MRI images compromised. Cancer images were superimposed on to the MRI images, because of this; many patients began radiation and chemotherapy treatments without having cancer.
I know how the families and the patients affected felt when a cancer diagnosis was given. I have seen the damage chemotherapy and radiation does to a person, but what I cannot comprehend, is the emotional roller coaster the families experienced as it was announced they never had cancer. This revelation was discovered when a few patients obtained a second opinion and the new MRI images did not match the first ones. Without the new scans, many more cases of cancer would have been misdiagnosed, resulting in additional treatments that were unnecessary, and multiple lawsuits that they will face.
Now that I have your attention, have you considered what a cyber-terrorist would do to your company? If your answer is no, or even if you have your network secure, do you really?