Ransomware attacks have been on the rise in recent years. In May 2021, the largest U.S. oil pipeline was shut down, and in June of the same year, a U.S. plant owned by the world’s largest meat processor was shut down. Experts are expressing the opinion that the worst case is likely to occur with respect to the damage caused by these ransomware attacks.
A ransomware attack is a type of cyberattack that forcibly restricts system access through malicious code and demands a ransom. So far, ransomware attacks have mainly targeted personal or confidential information owned by large corporations, such as cases in which the personal information of 350,000 people was leaked from Capcom and cases where Acer was charged 50 billion won.
However, it is pointed out that the impact of ransomware attacks is expanding to the periphery of life. A ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, the largest oil pipeline operator in the United States, occurred in May 2021, which was procuring 45% of the fuel supply on the east coast of the United States, but stopped operations due to concerns about a gasoline shortage and caused people to queue up at gas stations. Some people even tried to store gasoline in plastic bags. Eventually, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an official warning against storing gasoline in plastic bags.
Also, in the JBS case, there were reports that the company was the core of the food supply chain that accounts for 20% of the meat supply in the United States, so there was a lot of confusion in the American meat industry.
In addition to the Colonial Pipeline and JBS incidents, ransomware attacks delayed ferries to the Massachusetts islands, or Hollywood Presbyterian Medical lost access to medical data for nearly a month to treat chemotherapy patients Delays have also occurred. It is said that there are 20 to 30 times more incidents than reported. Ransomware attacks occur far more frequently than is known in the world.
One expert criticizes the phenomenon that criminals use cryptographic assets for criminal activities, arguing that ransomware attacks consist of a technology that makes it difficult to identify a transaction party called cryptographic assets.
According to reports, as large-scale incidents caused by these ransomware attacks continue, the U.S. Department of Justice is raising the priority of responding to ransomware attacks to the same level as terrorism. Related information can be found here.