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From Bad to Potentially a Lot Worse

Last twelve months have been a nightmare for US for more than one reason. While Covid 19 has ravaged the country to its very core, there is destruction happening on another frontier too, and for now, there doesn’t seem to be any vaccine for this one. Over the last year, cybercriminals have made this global pandemic their foil as they go around creating wreak-havoc in the shadows. Even though these cyberattacks have been huge in number and diverse in nature, there has been one common pattern between them. Most of these attacks have been ransomware-driven, which transfers the entire control of victim’s devices to the hacker. The victim then pay a sum of money (more often than not, a huge one) to regain access to his device. We haven’t heard about ransomware for the first time, but unfortunately we are witnessing a new trend, which makes this weapon way deadlier than one can imagine.

The threat actors have zoomed in their focus on critical national infrastructure and physical business operations. So far, we have seen a sizeable amount of victims. This sizeable amount includes a major gas pipeline, dozens of government agencies, Florida’s water supply system, one of the world’s top meat producers, and many more. In response to this crisis, the US Department of Justice formed a task force back in April, 2021. This came after the department labeled 2020 as “worst year ever” for extortion-related cyberattacks. The year 2021 hasn’t offered a lot of solace either. During first six months of the present year, US saw cyberattacks going up by a whopping 102%. This figure doesn’t even include most recent big-scale ransomware attacks on Martha Vineyard, Cape Cod, and Nantucket.

While the country reels from these attacks, experts barely offer any optimism. Currently, US treats 16 industries as “critical infrastructure” including healthcare, financial services, energy, water, transportation, food, and agriculture. It’s already a consensus that any severe damage to these industries can have “debilitating effect” on country’s economy and security, and now experts have pointed out that the evolution of cybersecurity in these sectors doesn’t quite match up with the progress made by threat actors. Hence, if appropriate actions aren’t taken in time, things might be about to get a lot worse in America.

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