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Cyberpunk 2077 is a futuristic hacking-inspired action-roleplaying game that was released by CD Projekt last year. Yesterday, the official Cyberpunk 2077 twitter account posted a tweet announcing a delay for a much-needed patch meant to resolve many bugs and other issues that has plagued the game since its initial release. The company’s rationale for the delay was, quite ironically, a ransomware attack on some of their HQ machines. Yes. Cyberpunk 2077 was hacked in 2021.
So, What Exactly Is Randsomware?
Ransomware is when a hacker or group of hackers gains direct access to a machine’s file system and encrypts the data. This renders the information unreadable without either a decryption key or every supercomputer on earth plus 500 million years of brute force decryption, give or take a 100 million years. Once your data is locked up, these hackers then demand a sum of money, usually in bitcoin, to decrypt said data. This attack has evolved over time, and like anything else, it just keeps getting better.
We’ve seen versions of this attack across the gamut; ranging from WannaCry to Cryptolocker, and several stop-gaps in between. These attacks have been going ‘viral’ (see what I did there?) across the United States over the past few years. Attacks like this affect hospitals, schools, and corporations both public and private. In short, it does not discriminate. This is an equal opportunity exploit, and games about hacking are no exception.
The Irony, Tho
Unfortunately, once a system has succumbed to this type of attack, there’s really no way to fix it. The only way to recover from a ransomware attack is by restoring a backup. So basically, I mean, there is no solution because well, that doesn’t really count. Much in the way that if you replace a car, you are not repairing it. You are replacing it. So, if you don’t have a backup, I just don’t have any good news for you sorry. CD Projekt, thankfully, had a backup. As with any backup, however, there will be some missing data between the backup and the attack, hence the delay on the promised updates. The burgeoning ransomware industry is off to a good start, though. So far, victims of ransomware attacks have paid $140 million dollars to hackers to regain access to their data, with the University of California in San Francisco paying $1.14 million dollars to recover their data.
A ransomware attack is not limited to corporate entities. Home users have been known to fall victim to these attacks. The best practice is to keep a regular, external backup of your data that is not always connected to your machine. Using cloud services like Google Drive work well to keep your data safe.