Alarming rise of ransomware attacks

ABC News’ Pierre Thomas discusses Colonial Pipeline’s ransom payment after it was hacked and what the government is doing about these crimes.
2:18 | 05/14/21

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Transcript for Alarming rise of ransomware attacks
More on cyber threats we during an ABC's Chief Justice correspondent Pierre Thomas here it's reported colonial pipeline went ahead and paid that ransom over the had what have you learned about that. Okay. Using wrist still sorting out how the ransom might have been paid these Reza where attacks are complicated and can sometimes involve third parties. But I've been told by sources at the ransom demand it was in the low millions of dollars and that attack launched by gang using ransom we are developed by dark side. A group of hackers based in Russia. Busy this is a stunning reminder of how vulnerable US companies partisan attacks and the limitations of the federal government. In controlling how companies maintain a security and respond to these kind of attacks we know the FBI's position was that the ransom should not be paid yeah. And we've heard from experts soda companies quite often do you pay these ransoms which of course makes this crime profitable and attractive to bad actors. What are US officials say about that and is there anything they can do to stop companies and individuals from making these payments. They we've found out that in the past year US companies and consumers have paid a ransom. In that the amount of about 350. Million dollars so this is ongoing and very lively and only profitable. Thing for criminals to do. Now again the FBI saying you shouldn't pay this I talked to Secret Service source today who said they always tell companies not to pay. The Reyes is but clearly these companies are under pressure. And to be honest with you there's not a lot that the federal government can do because these are private entities and they control how they respond. Today talked about how profitable this is according to DHS France where is also now the fastest growing cyber crime and we've heard from experts that it it's a relatively cheap crime to pull off so what can the government do to fight it. Well again this software was developed by this group dark side and apparently they dole it out to. Whoever wants to use it and then when it's used the people of that. Do the extortion of pay them a cut and what they make. Now you're right this is a very fast rising type of crime. The Homeland Security officials reported in the last week or so that they've seen a nearly 300%. Jump. In ransom were cases in the past year Lindsay. Pierre Thomas our thanks to you.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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