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You know it’s bad when a cyber crime wave makes victims out of U.S. police departments. Law enforcement agencies in at least seven states have been blackmailed by cyber attackers using ransomware. Data on departmental computers has been encrypted by malware and held hostage, with the demand that a ransom be paid in bitcoins. Unaccustomed to giving in to criminals, many of the agencies refused to pay and subsequently lost access to their information forever.
Cyber criminals also have been targeting U.S. hospitals. In one high profile case, a California hospital lost access to its critical patient records for a week until a ransom worth about $ 17,000 was paid. Experts estimate this particular facility was losing as much as $ 100,000 a day in just one department because it wasn’t able to perform CT scans without access to its data.