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blog | November 06, 2019

An Analysis of Ransomware Attacks in the U.S.

An Analysis of Ransomware Since its development, the internet has opened up our world to vast amounts of knowledge and resources. It’s now as easy as typing in a...

By Courtney Perry

An Analysis of Ransomware

Since its development, the internet has opened up our world to vast amounts of knowledge and resources. It’s now as easy as typing in a few terms to find sources on almost any topic in the world, and all it takes to contact someone on the other side of the world is a few seconds and a wi-fi connection. However, with all of the connectivity and open communication with people online comes vulnerability and the additional need to protect yourself from people who are online for more nefarious purposes than “best chocolate cake recipe” or “tips for new runners”.

Scammers have gone from using a smile and a wink to squeeze cash out of their marks to a variety of internet-based scams that range from hacking to holding personal data ransom to catfishing. To find out how effective these scams are, our team broke down the IC3 Government State reports so we could see which states are falling victim to the most scams. You can check out the results below!

US map showing states with the biggest and smallest ransomware problems

According to its definition, ransomware is a type of malware that threatens to publish the victim’s data or perpetually block access to it unless a ransom is paid. You might be familiar with the concept if you’re a fan of Grey’s Anatomy and happened to catch the ransomware episode. Companies that deal with confidential records, like hospitals or healthcare companies are particularly vulnerable to this type of attack.

Based on the number of victims, California had the biggest problem with ransomware in 2018, but in spite of the high number of victims, their ransomware financial losses didn’t even crack the top 5. On the contrary, Florida, who had over 100 fewer victims of ransomware in 2018, had the largest financial loss in terms of ransomware.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Montana had absolutely no ransomware problems in 2018, and 14 states had no financial losses due to ransomware schemes. Then there’s Georgia, who somehow lost a single dollar to ransomware last year, although they have bigger problems in 2019.


US map showing states with the biggest and smallest personal breach problems

Personal breaches are another method of data theft that tend to be much more common. Data for this type of breach includes occurrences of credit card fraud, identity theft, and personal data breaches through a personal computer or phone hack. These breaches are smaller in scale, but anyone who’s experienced their card being declined due to their accounts being frozen or woken up to 18 missed calls from their bank asking what kind of insane technology shopping spree they’ve gone on knows the pain these hacks can cause.

In terms of victim count, California again had the highest number of victims who suffered a personal breach and this time, they also had the largest financial loss. Meanwhile, North Dakota is apparently the place to be if you want secure data. They had one of the lowest numbers of victims and the lowest financial loss!


 US map showing states with the biggest and smallest tech breach problems

Tech breaches are probably exactly what come to mind when you hear the term “hacker”. You know, the big company with all of the computers that suddenly start flashing red lights as an alarm starts blaring because the system detected a virus? That’s a tech hack. Malware/Scareware/Virus hacks, Tech Support Breaches, and Virtual Currency all fall under this category. 

Once again, California was hit the hardest both financially and through the number of people, and the Dakotas are apparently the safest places to be if you want to avoid a hack.

US map showing states with the biggest and smallest relationship scam problems

This kind of scam has a whole show about it! If you’ve ever watched MTV’s Catfished, you know exactly what kind of scam we’re talking about here. These are the confidence fraud and romance schemes of the internet age, along with social media scams and phishing scams. Poor Californians are once again the most likely people to fall victim to this type of scam and most likely to pay through the nose. We can’t blame them, they’re on a quest for true love! North Dakota had the fewest victims and South Dakota had the lowest financial loss.

Data breaches where your client’s data is exposed cause a loss of faith between your client and you, which is why data security is so important. But if you’ve got your client data on lockdown and you’re still not connecting to them in a meaningful way, contact us here! We’d be happy to troubleshoot your user experience and see where you’re losing people along the way.

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