American Hacker Jeffrey “Sneak” Paul joins host Bram Cohen for a deep-dive into the hard problems underlying the rise of ransomware attacks, what it all means and what we can do about it.

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On this episode we’re digging into, not a new problem, but an old problem that seems to be getting worse as a growing proportion of our lives are spent connected, to each other, to the internet and inadvertently to criminals who use technology to extort money, often in the form of cryptocurrencies. It’s called ransomware, and to help us understand and sort through today’s topic, Hard Problems host and Chia CEO Bram Cohen is joined by special guest Jeffrey Paul, better known as Sneak.

On May 7, an employee of Colonial Pipeline Company found a ransomware note on one of the company’s computers. The pipeline provides nearly half of the fuel for the east coast and they were locked out. Days later, they’d admit to paying 4.4 million dollars in bitcoin to the group who did it. It’s the most recent high-profile example, but it’s certainly not the only one. We’ve seen hospital systems and industrial players extorted along with lots of normal people. And those are the ones that we hear about, it’s assumed that many victims of extortion simply pay the ransom and keep it to themselves.

See also: Inside Bram Cohen’s Proof-of-Work Reinvention

This episode was recorded live over the audio-only social network known as Clubhouse. If you’d like to join our live audience, our next recording session is Wednesday, June 2, 2021, at Noon Pacific/3 p.m. Eastern time where we’ll be discussing modern music, its eccentricities and how it’s changing as technology plays an ever-larger role with Grammy-nominated composer and musical pioneer BT. If you’re not already on Clubhouse, you can use this link to get around the invitation requirement, set up your account and RSVP for the event.

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