In June 2019, the small city of Riviera Beach, Florida, north of West Palm Beach was crippled by a ransomware attack. Their data was encrypted by hackers so they couldn’t access it. This paralyzed the City’s computer systems. Their police department had to hand-write 911 calls. The City Council voted to pay a ransom of $600,000 in Bitcoin to hackers that targeted its computer systems. And now they need new computers that will cost the City $941,000.
CBS News reported that the City Council of Riviera Beach voted to meet the demands of its hackers in the hopes of getting back their compromised data. We still don’t know if they got their data back. They may not. This is why the FBI doesn’t support paying a ransom in response to a ransomware attack.
The attack was caused when an employee in the police department opened an email attachment that contained malware. This is a sign of how unprepared much of the country is when it comes to dealing with the rise of ransomware. Had this employee been trained properly, he wouldn’t have opened the attachment.
Crippling ransomware attacks are on the rise in U.S. cities. And for cities and businesses that are victimized, the consequences can be paralyzing and destructive.
When ransomware infects your computer, your organization’s operations can come to a grinding halt. You’ll be denied access to your computer and may even lose your data. Ransomware attacks have cost U.S. businesses millions of dollars in losses.
Ransomware is the most malicious and frequently used form of malware today. It blocks access to your data and demands payment through an anonymous system like Bitcoin to restore access.
In the past few years, many small businesses, government agencies and private users have been victims of ransomware. The criminals who distribute and operate these attacks are making millions of dollars. They extort money from you in exchange for a promise to unlock your computer files.
There’s more than one type of ransomware. Ransomware programs may be different, but they can all wreak havoc with Windows and Macintosh computers, and even Android devices. The infection takes place when you open a malicious email attachment, visit an infected website, or download and install infected software from the Internet.
If you believe a ransomware attack is occurring and your files are being encrypted, power off your machine immediately. You can simply unplug the power cord if you can’t do this with the power button. Tell all users to do the same.
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If you experienced a ransomware attack, this means that it got through all your anti-virus software and security on your computers. Unfortunately, because ransomware performs multi-layered attacks, there’s no one security feature today that can protect against every threat. However, we can provide advice on the most current and effective protection.
The best security software is made up of layers that protect specific areas, and where each layer communicates with another for the best protection possible. The first layer of protection is for your email where spam typically enters.
Securing your email with the right program allows you to scan every email for malicious files before you or other users open them. We can also offer a compatible sandboxing program so you can open attachments in a secure environment where they can be analyzed for ransomware.
To protect your business in Florida from ransomware attacks, you must perform secure backups. This requires backups that occur in real-time, daily and weekly. These backups must be isolated from your network to ensure they can’t be compromised by a ransomware attack.
We’ll need these backup files to restore your data. In most cases, we can erase the hard drive, reinstall the operating system and restore your machine with the backup copy.
We can train your personnel with simulation tools to help them recognize malicious IT threats of any kind. By doing this, you’ll reduce the odds of falling victim to a ransomware attack.
With New-School Security Awareness Training, you’ll have training self-service enrollment, training completion logs, and both pre-and post-training phishing security tests that show you who is/isn’t completing prescribed training, as well as the percentage of your end users that are Phish-prone.
And with our end-user training interface, your users get a fresh new learner experience that makes learning fun and engaging. It has optional customization features to enable “gamification” of training, so your users can compete against their peers on leaderboards and earn badges while learning how to keep your organization safe from cyber attacks.
If the City of Rivera Beach, Florida, had provided this training for their staff, their employee wouldn’t have clicked the malicious link that cost them more than $600,000.
Hackers don’t discriminate. Learn how to guard against them at our event, “The Future is Now – Let Technology Take You There”. The Greater Fort Lauderdale Chamber Of Commerce will hold this educational event on August 9, 2019, from 8 am to 12 pm at the Broward College North, 1000 E. Coconut Creek Parkway, Coconut Creek, Florida. It’s is geared to educate and inform all business owners and employees on the dangers of ransomware. Did you know three of the most recent and costliest cybercrimes have happened here in Florida? Learn how to put protections in place and educate employees to prevent your organization from falling victim.