UBS announced a net profit of $1.4 billion for the second quarter of 2019.Earningsread more
Beijing says it can still meet its 2019 growth target of between 6% and 6.5% and continues to roll out stimulus measures to prop up activity. China set a 2019 industrial...China Economyread more
Japan and South Korea are part of a complex and tightly linked supply chain that produces electronic goods such as smartphones and laptops.Technologyread more
A different oil pricing dynamic has been evolving with new supply calculations based on the U.S. as the world's largest producer.Market Insiderread more
The Massachusetts senator's alarm-sounding on consumer debt neglects to measure it against the growth in the economy and the ability to pay.Economyread more
Stocks in Asia Pacific edged up on Tuesday afternoon, as investors await closely-watched central bank meetings in the coming days.Asia Marketsread more
More than half of Venezuela's 23 states lost power on Monday, according to Reuters witnesses and reports on social media, a blackout the government blamed on an...World Politicsread more
Equifax will give consumers a range of options for monitoring their credit or making claims of fraud or data misuse, part of a $425 million restitution fund.Technologyread more
The deal between the White House and Democrats was earlier expected to raise the debt ceiling for two years and permanently end the sequester.Politicsread more
Britain's Antstream is jumping into the cloud gaming battle with a streaming platform for retro titles. And Tencent just backed the company.Technologyread more
American comedian Hannibal Buress, who stars in "The Eric Andre Show," has made a recent transition into the world of business as an angel investor — but there's an important...How I Made Itread more
Just days before a big race, an up-and-coming Nascar team suddenly found the crew chief's laptop going haywire and all the team's critical files locked up.
The team was the victim of a ransomware attack, a type of virus that locks up computer files until money is paid.
"A message popped up that said my files had all been encrypted. ... The only way to get it back is to pay a ransom," said Dave Winston, the crew chief for Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing.
Ransomware cost Americans between $24 million and $28 million in 2015. It's growing exponentially, according to the FBI.
The reason? "[Ransomware] is an easy business to get into. There are kits out there that you can buy on the deep dark web and start your own little ransomware company, and many of these end up actually being successful," said Marcin Kleczynski, the CEO of Malwarebytes, a cybersecurity company that focuses on thwarting malware.
The criminals target everyone, including consumers, small businesses and major corporations.
"Its targets of opportunity could mean your grandma or grandpa, or a corporation down the street, such as a health-care provider," said Will Bales, a Chantilly, Va.-based FBI supervisory special agent in charge of ransomware probes.
Still, 57 percent of victims are consumers, according to cybersecurity company Symantec. That means critical banking files, previous tax returns and personal photos can be locked up.
When the Nascar team was hit, it decided to pay, purchasing a bitcoin, a virtual anonymous currency from a special ATM. After hours of waiting, the team received a decryption key.
"It was huge relief when we got the key. ... Pretty much everything came back," Winston said.
However, the FBI advises against paying ransom, even small amounts like the Nascar team did.
"They now know that you are susceptible and want to pay them," the FBI's Bales said. "This could encourage them to continue and target more people down the line."
A ransom request can cause sticker shock. The average payment demand nearly doubled in 2015, according to Symantec.
"On the business side, the sky's the limit. We've seen requests for millions of dollars, but usually they end up settling for tens of thousands," said Malwarebytes' Kleczynski.
Bringing the criminals to justice is unlikely.
"It's very difficult to attribute where the ransomware came from, and every specific case is vastly different. We've seen ransomware attacks from Europe, we've seen ransomware attacks from Asia and we've seen ransomware attacks from the United States," Kleczynski said.
Here are some steps you can take to avoid being a victim.
While there are many ways that ransomware can get into your computer, the FBI's Bale said email attachments are a common method.
"The emails can look like they're from a friend, or family, or just maybe a reputable organization, but it's actually not. And the attachment is laden with malware in it. And once you've opened the attachment, your computer is infected," he said.
"If you're not expecting an email from somebody, it's OK to call that person and ask them if they meant to send that email. Or if that email was from them. It's inconvenient, but it is less inconvenient than infecting your entire computer or network," he said.
The best way to prevent ransomware is to have a secure backup, which allows you to restore files without paying the ransom.
"Secure backups are key. Make sure that files are backed up regularly, and you should test those backups so that the first time you try your backup is not because of a ransomware event," Bales said.