Is your network secure? Are you sure your network is secure? Would you also believe that Louisiana’s Motor Vehicle offices were secure? How about the New Jersey or California school district? Unfortunately for all listed above and more they were not secure enough. If you are not familiar with Ransomware attacks, allow me to bring you up to speed. A Ransomware attack is likely one of the most powerful types of virus that exist in today’s world. It finds its way into systems that have vulnerabilities via email, click bait, attached to files like PDF, and even from fraudulent websites. It scans the system and finds commonly used file types like documents, images, videos etc. and encrypts them (changes the files so they cant be read). After the files are encrypted it then demands money for a key to unlock the files. It then attempts to travel to any connected machines on the network and attack them as well. Ransomware attacks are happening more frequently, and getting through systems you would believe to be properly protected.
It is extremely hard to believe some of the recipients of the these attacks. 79 of Louisiana’s Motor Vehicle Offices were attacked, there systems were encrypted and were unable to conduct business for about a week. Imagine the loss of business and expense to recover 79 branches. A Wisconsin based IT company responsible for maintaining nursing homes across the USA was recently attacked, causing over 110 nursing homes to be cut off from medical records with a demand for 14 million dollars to fix the problem. The San Bernardino City Unified School District in California, the Chicopee, Massachusetts, public schools, and the Claremont Unified School District in California are just a couple of the school districts that have been attacked and infected. Even Veterinary clinics have been hit including the National Veterinary Associates (NVA), a California company that owns more than 700 animal care facilities around the world. The NVA had over 400 of its systems held for ransom.
As you can see anyone and everyone can be vulnerable to these attacks. These types of attacks are at this point very automated, there is not a person just sending these attacks one by one, they have systems searching the internet for vulnerabilities in networks. Once they find one, or one is presented to them it latches itself to that machine and begins its vicious process. As we speak millions of systems and networks are being poked and prodded for vulnerability. There are several safety measures that can be taken to be sure that this does not happen to your business. Some of the most important steps would be making sure your anti virus is up to date on all systems, being sure you have a firewall in place, training your staff on internet and email safety are just some of them. If you outsource your IT, it is very important to go with a company you can trust. To many have lost the battle to ransomware, do your part to combat ransomware by not allowing yourself to fall victim.