Posted by Stephen Palamara, TCC Director of Business Development

There have been well publicized news stories regarding cybersecurity attacks, typically involving data breaches in very large companies. However there have been ransomware attacks on smaller organizations, including businesses and hospitals here in Indiana. If it can happen to the owner of Big Guy Signs, it can happen to any small business.

In this story by Fox 59 News, the owner of Big Guy Signs, Asher Collins says, “It’s been a total nightmare,” and “Never saw it coming. I just never saw it coming.”

It only took cybercriminals two minutes to take control of every computer in the small business, and they demanded ransom of $500 – $600 for every infected computer. Mr. Collins decided not to pay the ransom and worked with a backup service to restore all his data.

According to a story posted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, ransomware threats are on the rise. Ransomware is a type of malware that infects computers and restricts access to or threatens destruction of the files on that computer unless a ransom is paid.

The article states “When ransomware first hit the scene, computers predominately became infected with it when users opened e-mail attachments that contained the malware. But more recently, we’re seeing an increasing number of incidents involving so-called “drive-by” ransomware, where users can infect their computers simply by clicking on a compromised website, often lured there by a deceptive e-mail or pop-up window.” “Also a growing problem is ransomware that locks down mobile phones and demands payments to unlock them.”

The FBI shared the following advice to protect your computers from Ransomware:

  • “Make sure you have updated antivirus software on your computer.”
  • “Enable automated patches for your operating system and web browser.”
  • “Have strong passwords, and don’t use the same passwords for everything.”
  • “Use a pop-up blocker.”
  • “Only download software—especially free software—from sites you know and trust (malware can also come in downloadable games, file-sharing programs, and customized toolbars).”
  • “Don’t open attachments in unsolicited e-mails, even if they come from people in your contact list, and never click on a URL contained in an unsolicited e-mail, even if you think it looks safe. Instead, close out the e-mail and go to the organization’s website directly.”
  • “Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.”
  • “To prevent the loss of essential files due to a ransomware infection, it’s recommended that individuals and businesses always conduct regular system back-ups and store the backed-up data offline.”

To learn more about TCC’s IT Managed Services including Cybersecurity, please visit our website

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