By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0 Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

$70,000,000.00 (Seventy Million Dollars)

That’s the amount hackers want to release around 1,500 businesses that have been affected by a ransomware attack this week. The attack is centered around the technology firm Kaseya according to its CEO.   This company is US based in Florida.

We are seeing a parallel here to the attack earlier in the year in that Kaseya is a company that provides software tools to other organizations.  These other organizations and companies are usually too small or have minimal resources to have their own IT department.  They buy software from a third party to manage some or all of their IT functions.

Most of the companies hit by this latest attack are small.  They include things like dentist offices, accountants, and other small businesses.  The effect was felt worldwide on all five continents.   Some areas have felt it more such as Sweden where hundreds of Coop supermarkets had to shut down because their cash registers were inoperative.   In New Zealand schools and kindergartens were knocked offline.

According to news agency Reuters the hackers stated that “they are always ready to negotiate” after demanding $70 million dollars for a universal decryption key.  The group refused to provide their name but this information came from a chat program on the hackers website.

Experts say it’s not a good idea to pay the ransom.  In addition to not knowing if you will ever receive working decryption software, it can encourage hackers to continue to demand large amounts of money.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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