While ransomware attacks have slowed down with cybercriminals shifting their focus to cryptojacking (mining virtual currencies), cyberextortion is still widespread.
Here are a few examples of recent cyber extortion attacks:
Systems of Onslow Water and Seer Authority (ONWASA) in Jacksonville, NC, serves a population of more then 100,000 people. Earlier this month it’s computer systems were attacked and infected by a malicious Emotet ransomware. The Ryuk strain of this malware quickly spread across the network, infecting databases and files. ONWASA systems were compromised despite having extensive defenses in place, yet had a weak link computer systems at the main office, where penetration apparently took place. ONWASA refuses to pay the ransom,
Another earlier attack in Mecklenburg County, NC could’ve resulted in $23,000 ransom losses, but the county officials were confident that resources were available to restore and rebuild the systems from secure backup data.
City of West Haven, CT, was hit with ransomware attack that ran for 27 minutes early morning on October 16, 2018, infecting 23 servers. Attack was contained within 39 hours, and federal and local police IT authorities conducted an investigation. Not being properly prepared for such attack, West Heaven had made a difficult choice of paying the ransom of $2000, and hired a consulting company to remediate and restore the affected systems.
What to do if you don’t want to be the victim of cyber extortion specialists: plan, backup, restore.
You can pursue the questionable choice of paying the ransom (with no guarantee of receiving a decryption key and potentially being re-targeted in the future), or face a complicated and very expensive cleanup and restoration process. Cybercriminals evolve their methods on daily and hourly basis: understanding that nobody can guarantee zero penetration, individuals and organizations must be prepared to the safeguard against the attacks to minimize the risk, and recover properly, to minimize the damage, should the malicious attack succeed.
- To minimize the risk, properly safeguard against malicious attack
- To minimize the damage, have a rapid recovery plan.
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