Finland braces for crypto ransomware attacks

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Finland is bracing itself for cryptocurrency ransomware attacks on its institutions, a report by Yle has revealed. Over 200 public organizations in the country are participating in drills that are geared towards making them more adept at handling cyber-attacks.

According to the report, the country’s Population Register Center is conducting a simulated cyber-attack on public organizations. In the campaign, which is dubbed Taisto 19 (Fight 19), the center plays the role of a hacker group that is coordinating attacks on the organizations’ systems and demanding ransom in crypto.

It started in October when hackers sent threats to 235 public organizations, demanding payment in BTC. The hacker group, which goes by the name #Tietovuoto321 (‘data breach 321’), threatened to carry out a series of cyber-attacks on the institutions if their demands were not met.

Finland has responded by engaging in activities that seek to make its institutions ready to handle the threat. Since the threats were received on October 10, the country has ensured its institutions have the necessary knowledge in case the hackers are able to infiltrate their systems. Fully aware that it’s not possible to fully protect themselves from a hacking attack, the institutions have sought to prepare themselves on how to react should they be attacked.

The Population Register Center has been in charge of the sensitization campaign. The center falls under the Ministry of Finance and is tasked with spearheading digitalization in the country. The center’s secretary general, Kimmo Rousku, revealed that organizations have been enthusiastic towards the sensitization campaign.

Already, some towns in Finland such as Pori and Lahti have come under cyber-attacks, making the campaign even more crucial.

Ransomware attacks have become one of the biggest threats in recent years to both public and private entities. Cities in the U.S. have been the biggest targets, with some of the victims being forced to fork out large sums of money to the criminals so that they can get back control of their systems. As CoinGeek reported, one of the victims was Riviera Beach, a town in the state of Florida which had to fork out $633,000 in June to hackers. The hackers had taken control of the town’s systems and demanded to be paid in crypto.

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