TEWKSBURY, Mass (Reuters) – When hackers set out to extort the town of Tewksbury, Massachusetts with “ransomware,” they followed up with an FAQ explaining the attack and easy instructions for online payment.
After balking for several days, Tewksbury officials decided that paying the modest ransom of about $600 was better than struggling to unlock its own systems, said police chief Timothy Sheehan.
That case and others show how cyber-criminals have professionalized ransomware schemes, borrowing tactics from customer service or marketing, law enforcement officials and security firms say. Some players in the booming underworld employ graphic artists, call centers and technical support to streamline payment and data recovery, according to security firms that advise businesses on hacking threats.
The advancements, along with modest ransom demands, make it easier to pay than fight.
“It’s a perfect business model, as long as you