6 episodes

Ransomware is proliferating across the country, disabling computer systems and harming critical infrastructure — hospitals, city governments, schools, even an oil pipeline. The technology that enables ransomware may be new, but extortion and ransom are not. So why is this happening now? And can it be stopped? In this 5-part series from MIT Technology Review and ProPublica we look at the money, people and technology behind the explosion of ransomware that is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars to cybercriminals around the world. Hosted by Meg Marco.

The Extortion Economy MIT Technology Review & ProPublica

    • Technology
    • 4.8 • 54 Ratings

Ransomware is proliferating across the country, disabling computer systems and harming critical infrastructure — hospitals, city governments, schools, even an oil pipeline. The technology that enables ransomware may be new, but extortion and ransom are not. So why is this happening now? And can it be stopped? In this 5-part series from MIT Technology Review and ProPublica we look at the money, people and technology behind the explosion of ransomware that is delivering hundreds of millions of dollars to cybercriminals around the world. Hosted by Meg Marco.

    The Problem

    The Problem

    A new-age iteration of the old-age extortion problem. A ransomware vigilante, a piracy (as in actual boats) expert, a school administrator, and a kidnapping victim share their experiences. This is part one.


    We Meet:
    Fabian Wosar, CTO, Emsisoft 
    Doug Russell, Director of Technology, Haverhill Public Schools
    Lisa Forte, Co-founder, Red Goat Cyber Security


    Credits: 
    This series is hosted by Meg Marco and produced by Emma Cillekens, Tate Ryan-Mosley and Anthony Green. It’s inspired by reporting from Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden from ProPublica. We're edited by Bobbie Johnson, Michael Reilly, Mat Honan and Robin Fields. Our mix engineer is Erick Gomez with help from Rebekah Wineman. Our theme music is by Jacob Gorski. Art is from Lisa Larson-Walker and Eric Mongeon. Emma Cillekens is our voice coach. The executive producers of The Extortion Economy podcast are Meg Marco and Jennifer Strong.


    Sounds From: 
    Video: Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount testifies at the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Source: CNBC Television, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcYePKjI_mc
    Video: Roving Report Italy, Source: AP, http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/youtube/8b08bfc68a0b203d238aa8e0c4316e61 
    Video: CBS Evening News 1989-12-14, Source: CBS, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wHsbZEX5pQw

    • 21 min
    The Bad Actors

    The Bad Actors

    In an absurd contract, look into the criminal world where the stakes are high, but the methods are increasingly business-like and meet the people who interact with the ransomware hackers. This is part two.


    We Meet:
    Chester Wisniewski, Principal Research Scientist, Sophos
    Allan Liska, Principal Research Scientist, Recorded Future
    Fabian Wosar, CTO, Emsisoft 
    Kurtis Minder, CEO, GroupSense
    Lisa Forte, Co-founder, Red Goat Cyber Security


    Credits:
    This series is hosted by Meg Marco and produced by Emma Cillekens, Tate Ryan-Mosley and Anthony Green. It’s inspired by reporting from Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden from ProPublica. We're edited by Bobbie Johnson, Michael Reilly, Mat Honan and Robin Fields. Our mix engineer is Erick Gomez with help from Rebekah Wineman. Our theme music is by Jacob Gorski. Art is from Lisa Larson-Walker and Eric Mongeon. Emma Cillekens is our voice coach. The executive producers of The Extortion Economy podcast are Meg Marco and Jennifer Strong.


    Sounds From: 
    Video: Cyber Attack Forces Major Gas And Diesel Pipeline Shutdown, Source: NBC Nightly News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGbSy82aZBo 
    Video: Here’s the hacking group responsible for the Colonial Pipeline shutdown, Source: CNBC https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/10/hacking-group-darkside-reportedly-responsible-for-colonial-pipeline-shutdown.html 
    Video: Cyberattack of Colonial Pipeline drives panic buying in Tampa Bay, Source: WFLA News Channel 8, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgDyz31sIhI 
    Video: Colonial Pipeline paid $5 million ransom to hackers. Source: CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/13/colonial-pipeline-paid-ransom-to-hackers-source-says.html 
    Video: Colonial Pipeline CEO Joseph Blount testifies on ransomware attack before Congress, Source: CNBC, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DcYePKjI_mc  

    Credits:
    This series is hosted by Meg Marco and produced by Emma Cillekens, Tate Ryan-Mosley and Anthony Green. It’s inspired by reporting by Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden from ProPublica. We're edited by Bobbie Johnson, Michael Reilly, Mat Honan and Robin Fields. Our mix engineer is Erick Gomez with help from Rebeckah Wineman and theme music by Jacob Gorski. Emma Cillekens is our voice coach. The executive producers of The Extortion Economy podcast are Meg Marco and Jennifer Strong.

    • 22 min
    All Cats, No Mice

    All Cats, No Mice

    After the Colonial Pipeline payment, the FBI followed the money and cybersecurity researchers followed the ransomware group. We followed both. This is part three.

    We Meet: 
    Fabian Wosar, CTO, Emsisoft
    Elvis Chan, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI San Francisco

    Credits:
    This series is hosted by Meg Marco and produced by Emma Cillekens, Tate Ryan-Mosley and Anthony Green. It’s inspired by reporting from Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden from ProPublica. We're edited by Bobbie Johnson, Michael Reilly, Mat Honan and Robin Fields. Our mix engineer is Erick Gomez. Our theme music is by Jacob Gorski. Art is from Lisa Larson-Walker and Eric Mongeon. Emma Cillekens is our voice coach. The executive producers of The Extortion Economy podcast are Meg Marco and Jennifer Strong.

    Sounds From: 
    Video: Colonial Pipeline hack leads to gas shortage
    Source: ABC News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be3gpaTQJlA 

    Video: Cyberattack of Colonial Pipeline drives panic buying in Tampa Bay
    Source: WFLA News Channel 8, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgDyz31sIhI 

    Video: Fuel starts flowing after Colonial Pipeline restarts operations
    Source: ABC News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgWSgQf_dSc 

    Video: Department of Justice officials discuss Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack
    Souce: PBS News Hour, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwjDMJi8hOQ

    • 18 min
    The Extortion Industry

    The Extortion Industry

    We look at the reasons ransomware is so hard to solve and ask hard questions about who is really helping the victims. This is part four.

    We Meet:
    Fabian Wosar, CTO, Emsisoft. 
    Bob Wice, Head of Underwriting Management. Cyber and Tech, Beazley.
    Bill Siegel, CEO and cofounder, Coveware.

    Sounds From: 
    Video: CDOT employees dealing with yet another SamSam ransomware attack, Source: Denver7, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lubGaiNT1IU
    Video: Ransomware Hits CDOT Computers, Source: CBS Denver, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbuEXUUvD-A 
    Video: Ransomware Recovery Service by Proven Data, Source: Proven Data, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyeaBxE4JGQ 

    Credits: 
    This series is hosted by Meg Marco and produced by Emma Cillekens, Tate Ryan-Mosley and Anthony Green. It’s inspired by reporting by Renee Dudley, Jeff Kao, and Daniel Golden from ProPublica. We're edited by Bobbie Johnson, Michael Reilly, Mat Honan and Robin Fields. Our mix engineer is Erick Gomez and theme music by Jacob Gorski. Art is from Lisa Larson-Walker and Eric Mongeon. Emma Cillekens is our voice coach. The executive producers of The Extortion Economy podcast are Meg Marco and Jennifer Strong.

    • 18 min
    File Not Found

    File Not Found

    The problem of ransomware has many causes but no clear solution. What's coming next? This is part five.

    We Meet:
    Fabian Wosar, CTO, Emsisoft 
    Jake Johnson, North Carolina State Representative
    Abishur Prakash, Geopolitical Futurist
    Paul Rosenberg, Mayor, Village of Rye Brook, New York
    Kimberly W. LaGrue, CIO, City of New Orleans, Louisiana
    Allan Liska, Principal Research Scientist, Recorded Future

    Sounds From: 
    Video: Governor declares state of emergency after ransomware attack on Louisiana, Source: WWLTV, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pT1mAILZVVg 

    Video: City Hall set to open Monday following cyber attack, Source: WDSU News, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jEDW3ETTDkg 

    Video: Cyber attack cripples New Orleans for days, Source: Fox News,  https://video.foxnews.com/v/6116822204001#sp=show-clips 

    Video: City Hall adapting to life without computers after New Orleans cyberattack, Source: WWLTV, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwnwG63K-Jc 

    Video: New Orleans government targeted in cyberattack; no ransom demanded, Source:  WWLTV, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5A0ANiQ3_Q

    Credits: 
    This series is hosted by Meg Marco and produced by Emma Cillekens, Tate Ryan-Mosley, and Anthony Green. It’s inspired by reporting by Renee Dudley and Daniel Golden from ProPublica. We're edited by Bobbie Johnson, Michael Reilly, Mat Honan, and Robin Fields. Our mix engineer is Erick Gomez and theme music by Jacob Gorski. Art is from Lisa Larson-Walker and Eric Mongeon. Emma Cillekens is our voice coach. The executive producers of The Extortion Economy podcast are Meg Marco and Jennifer Strong.

    • 15 min
    Welcome to The Extortion Economy

    Welcome to The Extortion Economy

    A five part series about the money, technology and people behind the ransomware epidemic from MIT Technology Review and ProPublica.

    • 2 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
54 Ratings

54 Ratings

isthisnicknamtaken ,

Should be required listening for anyone who uses technology

Combines topics like piracy, law enforcement, the ransomeware “industry”, impacts to public and private businesses, “Good guys”, “Bad guys” and Steam gaming. What is and is not being done. Recommend!

let us be Friends together. ,

Ransomware.

An important topic. As a retired healthcare worker I know that there are many ostriches among small independent practices. We need robust education through the professional associations in order to head this problem off. It is odd to me that this is not being addressed already. Healthcare is business and why this is not being addressed already with preventive measures is appalling.

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