Ransomware attacks have become one of the most common and pervasive cybercrimes perpetrated against U.S. companies. A bad actor, often from overseas, will gain access to upload malware onto a company’s network storage or application platforms that encrypts all files it can access. A message or text file is usually left with instructions on how to contact the attacker to pay a ransom for the decryption key. In the worst case, a ransomware attack can freeze the business operations by effectively removing access to the company’s critical systems and rendering them useless. Aside from the business impact, what legal implications are created by a ransomware attack?
The greatest legal concern is one of privacy. By definition, ransomware attacks gain access to the internal systems maintained or owned by a business. However, not all ransomware attacks are created equal and privacy obligations differ from one attack to another.