Description: The M-Trends 2016 Annual Threat Report1 indicates that Mandiant Consulting responded to more clients dealing with digital blackmail schemes than previously. Most cases cited impacts to either the confidentiality or availability of data. Targeted organizations were threatened with the public release of sensitive data while targets of opportunity were typically infected with commodity ransomware such
as TorrentLocker or CryptoWall. For example, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles was attacked on February 5, 2016.2 While they lost access to electronic patient records and email, the attack did not affect the hospital’s delivery and quality of patient care. Business operations and administrative functions were significantly “affected,” causing the hospital to reportedly pay a ransom equivalent to approximately USD 17,000. Attacks like this don’t just happen in the United States. Ransomware and targeted disruptive attacks are widespread across Asia and Europe.