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Ransomware. What you should know and how to protect yourself

Posted on: June 9th, 2021

If you’ve been watching the news lately, you’ll see an increased amount of news stories on ransomware and hacking. While this is nothing new, it has been covered a lot lately. Here are just some of the most recent stories we’ve seen.

Tulsa City Hall suffers cyber attack. photo courtesy of fox 23

Courtesy of Fox 23

In our own backyard, City of Tulsa suffers ransomware attack.
In April of 2021, the City of Tulsa was a victim of cyberattack. They had to completely shut down and go “back to basics” in order to clean up the systems. The attack affected everything including billing. They opted not to pay the cyber attackers and will be doing a major clean-up on systems that could takes weeks and maybe a month or more to do this. Shown in this photo provided by Fox 23, it shows the extent of what has to happen to get things back in order. All computers from the city are loaded up by truck. The city goes on to say that while it’s being investigated, they think someone might have opened up a phishing email designed to look like official city email. You can read more from this story at Fox 23.

Colonial Pipeline suffers cyberattack through VPN
We can’t forget the recent attack on the Colonial Pipeline that caused gas shortages and increased prices temporarily on the East Coast. If you detect advanced persistent threats, you can check it out here!  They used a Virtual Private Network (VPN), that was no longer being used but active, to access the systems. As the story goes, the password on that account appeared in the Dark Web meaning that the previous user may have used that same password on another account therefore compromising its use everywhere. In the end, Colonial ended up paying the hackers the $4.4 million to save their network. Bloomberg wrote an extensive article on this attack.

City of Atlanta suffers same type of cyberattack as the City of Tulsa in 2018.
In 2018 the City of Atlanta experienced a similar attack using the SamSam malware. They ended up spending more than $2.6 million in an emergency effort to get things back to normal. The criminals requested bitcoin as a method of payment to get back any data that they needed. While individuals are discouraged from paying these ransoms, some do not have a choice. Wired magazine covered this attack in a bit more detail.

These are just a few of the stories hitting the airwaves about cyberattacks and ransomeware.

I have a small business, this won’t happen to us.
As a small business in Oklahoma, you may think that this sort of attack could never happen to you. But this isn’t true. This can happen to anyone and has. 60 minutes did a great story over the weekend about cyberattacks and how it effects all businesses, large and small. Most people can’t afford to pay a large ransom and to further the issue, they don’t have a good recovery plan in place. And while many are discouraged from pay attackers what do you do when you don’t have plans in place? Many pay the attackers in hopes that their data will be released. In order to stay safe, having a good recovery plan is important as well as a plan in place for general day to day processes, i.e. not opening attachments from unknown senders and son on. Don’t take your online security for granted. Make a part of your goal for the next few months to figure out what to do should an attack happen and what to do to prevent it.

Alcom Security will help you keep your home and business safe from external attacks, we got you covered there. Now you can take that extra time to focus on your cyber security.

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