Ransomware turning into a national crisis, experts warn

THE HAGUE - Ransomware is becoming somewhat of a crisis in the Netherlands, the directors of three leading cybersecurity companies said to the Volkskrant. They're getting so many requests for help that they can't keep up.

According to Job Kuijpers of Eye, his company is getting two new customers per week who need help after a ransomware attack. "We are growing very fast."

Ronald Prins of Hunt & Hackett told the newspaper that the number of incidents is "many times greater" than the Dutch cybersecurity companies can handle.

"We regularly have to turn away business because we don't have the capacity for it," Pim Takkenberg of Northwave confirmed to the newspaper.

Ransomware is a type of malware that blocks access to files on infected computers. This type of an attack comes with a demand for "ransom" to be paid to regain access to your files.

But like the Dutch police have warned, just because you pay the ransom, doesn't mean the attackers will unlock your files. The Dutch police launched the No More Ransom platform, which contains the decryption codes for many types of ransomware. Victims are encouraged to check the platform before considering paying the ransom.

Last month a ransomware attack on American IT company Kaseya affected thousands of companies worldwide, including potentially hundreds in the Netherlands.Over the past two years, there were ransomware attacks on the Overijssel municipality of Hof van Twente, on Veiligheidsregio Noord- en Oost-Gelderland, and on Maastricht University, among others.

In June the national coordinator for counter-terrorism and security NCTV called ransomware a threat to national security.

And the experts who talked to the Volkskrant can't help but agree. The number of ransomware attacks increased so rapidly that they have to call this a crisis, they said. "You can only conclude that national security is in danger," Takkenberg said.

"Ransomware is now a threat to the prosperity of the Netherlands," Kuijpers said.


It is time for the national government to intervene, they said. "This is heading towards a national crisis," said Prins.

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