Ransomware attacks happen everywhere: how to minimize attack damage

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – Nationwide, there have been several major ransomware attacks that have impacted large portions of the country.

Ransomware is a type of hacking where the hacker gets into your network, encrypts your information and then holds the decryption key for ransom until you pay a certain amount of money.

Justin Cook, the cofounder of Coretech, says he has seen an uptick in ransomware over the past couple of years and says the attacks are getting more and more sophisticated and harder to detect.

Cook also says there are more criminals participating in the stealing of information than ever before.

One common way to try to get your passwords and other information is hackers will send employees emails pretending to be the chief executive officer of the company or another management position, but the email address is a random Gmail account instead.

“At face value it looks like it’s coming from them. They are asking you to get some iTunes cards or asking you to click a link. It’s your boss. You don’t want to question that. But one of the big things that we tell people to do is always question behavior that has never happened before. If your boss is asking you to do something that they have never asked you to do before especially if it’s going and getting money or signing up for something, really scrutinize that,” said Cook.

Cities have even been hacked recently.

The City of Bowling Green has several safety measures in place with hopes to keep a ransomware attack from happening, but Lynn Hartley, the chief information officer with the city, says they work specifically with employees to teach them what a possible scam could look like.

“One of the biggest things we try to do is internal awareness training and we also do some internal phishing tests because frankly, it doesn’t matter how much you spend, your weakest point is your employees. If they click on the wrong link or go to a bad website, you hope you have the tools in place to block those, but that is usually how the ransomware gets in is through an employee,”

The City of Bowling Green also has off network back-ups for information in case an attack ever were to happen.

While nothing you do online can be 100% safe from attack, one thing you can do is be sure to have an offsite back up for your information in order to restore any data taken by hackers without paying a bitcoin ransom.

If you have an onsite backup still attached to your network, it is not necessarily safe from attackers.