Hackers are making Americans lives worse, at an awkward time for Biden

Consumers coping with a straining economy face a new threat: Cyber criminals are targeting everything from their gasoline prices to their beef supply and even their vacations.

An ever more aggressive breed of extortionist hackers is adding to the headaches of tens of millions of ordinary Americans by targeting industries critical to daily life, including this week by forcing a shutdown of the worlds largest meat processing companys U.S. plants. That was barely three weeks after an earlier ransomware attack choked off the countrys largest fuel pipeline, prompting gasoline shortages and a price spike that has yet to fully recede.

The U.S. offers plenty of other attractive targets for ransomware hackers, who in recent years have wreaked billions of dollars in damage by taking down schools, hospitals, drugmakers, police departments, shipyards and other victims with poorly secured computer networks. And that makes ransomware both an economic and political quandary for President Joe Biden, whose hopes for a blossoming economy are already running into unrelated shortages of goods ranging from swimming pool chemicals to cars and houses.

People closely tracking the rise of ransomware attacks, in which hackers lock down a victims computer systems and demand a bounty for reopening them, say they dont expect the trend to ebb not as long as victims are desperate enough to pay up.

While the U.S. is showing signs of recovery from the pandemic, cybercriminals are still finding new opportunities....

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