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But the incident established a frightening precedent. No one knows how many ransomware attacks there have been. Websense hasn't received any additional reports, and Symantec reports seeing only three or four variants of the scheme. Renaud Bidou, a security consultant for Radware, an application security provider, has encountered about a half-dozen incidents since October 2004.
But, like victims of any security incident, those targeted by ransomware tend to keep quiet about it, especially if they've ponied up and paid. Admitting that, Bidou says, is like announcing, "Hey! Attack me - I pay!"
Still, you can protect yourself. Filenappers can't demand a ransom if they don't have control of your network.
Schaibly is a freelance writer in Fort Collins, Colo. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Read more about security in Network World's Security section.