Local cybersecurity expert says ransomware attacks are becoming more common


RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — University of Richmond professor Nancy Bagranoff says there has been an alarming increase in ransomware attacks like the one on the Colonial Pipeline.

Bagranoff teaches cybersecurity at UR and says ransomware locks the user out of their system and holds their data hostage. The hackers then threaten to share that data if the victim doesn’t pay them not to.

She explained that some companies will give in and pay to get their data back. Other companies will work with a cybersecurity firm to try and stop the hackers without having to pay up.

In 2021, Bagranoff says ransoms have been averaging anywhere from $300,000 to $800,000.

“So they’re expensive but they can cause an organization, like something critical to our infrastructure like a pipeline, to be out of commission for some time which is a huge detriment and a huge problem for us,” Bagranoff said.

Colonial Pipeline is expected to restore service to the majority of its pipeline by Friday.

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