Cybersecurity

Ransomware Attack costs Baltimore $18 Million

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On May 7th 2019, Baltimore city officials announced that a relatively new strain of ransomware labeled “Robbinhood” by The Baltimore Sun had encrypted important data including email, voice messaging, the city wide parking ticket database, and the cities utility and tax payment system. It has been determined that the hackers got in via a phishing email- a phony message tricking network users into giving hackers their credentials.

The Maryland city is still struggling to respond to hackers as over a month later as Baltimore city mayor Bernard Young has refused to pay the ransom of $100,000 in Bitcoin (an online currency that is hard to trace and has a wildly fluctuating value). Since refusing to pay the ransom the hackers have gone on twitter taunting Mayor Young posting faxes and other materials that the twitter account claims is evidence that they have been inside the cities network.

In a direct message to a Baltimore Sun reporter on Twitter, the account claiming to be the hackers said they have “ Financial documents and citizens personal information” and went as far as to release them on the dark web.

It is estimated that the total cost of the ransomware attack is going to cost the city of Baltimore over 18.2 million dollars- and that is assuming the hackers do not leak financial or citizen’s information onto the dark web.

How this could have been avoided

  1. Offsite Data Backup

    If the city of Baltimore had been backing up their data to either the cloud, offsite servers, or a combination of both, they would have had a recent backup to fall back on and continue operations with the only data being lost was that since the last back up. Trusted IT partners like Current Technologies can help implement regularly scheduled offsite backups and help you restore your data in the event of a would be catastrophe.

  2. Cyber-Security Protection

    Many ransomware attacks that hit cities or businesses occur due to outdated security technologies like firewalls or anti-virus software. In today’s day and age, hackers can scan thousands of organizations looking for specific vulnerabilities that only the latest software and hardware can prevent. This is why it is important to consult with your IT provider regularly to insure that your data is kept safe.

  3. Employee Training

    The entire Baltimore city hacking could have prevented had one employee not mistakenly given their credentials to a phishing email. It is important to have regular discussions with employees about good internet practices. Important practices include reporting spam emails, avoiding suspicious links and online ads, and regularly changing and strengthening passwords.

The threat of a cyber attack is never ending, and a majority of events like this occur to small businesses and cities and if it happened to a large city like Baltimore, it can definitely happen to you. No solution will be 100% effective, however the more security layers you have in place the safer you will be. If you are concerned that this could happen to your organization, contact the security experts at Current Technologies. Our IT team will help with data encryption, offsite backups, monitoring and disaster recovery. If you have your own IT team but are still worried, Current Technologies can bring you the latest versions of security software and hardware to make your IT team as effective as possible.

Reminder: There is a Hacking Attempt Every 39 Seconds

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10 Essential Steps To Protect Your Data

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How Much is Your Data Worth?

There are various ways to calculate the cost of losing work stored on computers. Perhaps the easiest way to get a gut feel for the cost is to think for a moment about how long it would take to replace lost work. How many people would have to spend how many days to create everything from scratch?

Here is a simple 10-step plan for making sure they do not have to.

1. Have a Strategy

You will not know what approach is right for you until you have answered these questions:

  1. How long can you go without the lost data?
  2. Will you be making full backups or incremental or differential backups?
  3. How quickly will you need data restored?
  4. What solutions will you use?
  5. How secure do your backups need to be?
  6. How long do you need to keep the data for?

2. Prepare for the Worst

If the building burns down, your onsite backups might go the same way as your primary systems. You should think about offsite or cloud backups as part of your plan. At Current Technologies, we help our clients find the best ways to leverage the cloud for a positive return on investment.  We can help you choose the best path forward to the cloud using proven solutions. 

3. Get Help

You might not have all the answers or even all the questions, contacting experts is never a bad idea. Our team at Current Technologies has been helping organizations secure data for over 20 years. Our knowledgeable and experienced employees will work with you to reach the mutual goal of defending your data.

4. How much can you Afford to lose?

Catalog which data would have the biggest impact if you were to lose it. Break data into tiers and work out how long data from each tier needs to be backed up.

5. How long can you go Before your Data is Restored?

The answer to this question will be different for each of the tiers of data you identified. And it will inform your decision about what backup systems you need.

6. Consider your Applications

Not only does your solution need to fit your business needs, but it also needs to suit the applications you run.

7. Choose your Device

What will you backup onto? This is another area where it is worth taking more expert advice.

8. Set up your File Backups

If you are working with someone, you should be able to borrow their expertise to make sure you set up correctly. If not, look for vendor tutorials that walk you through the process.

9. Take a Picture

Do not just set up to backup data. Image backups capture your whole system so that you can restore everything. That includes your operating system, applications, settings, bookmarks, and file states right before disaster struck. Current Technologies is partnered with Barracuda Networks and VMware to maximize ease and minimize cost of image backups.

10. Check and Double Check

Your system is no good to you if it is not working. Check and check again that you are capturing usable backups in the format you are expecting.

We can Help Each Step of the Way

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Our customers love the piece of mind knowing they can be alerted to issues so outages can either be prevented or responded to very quickly because of the visibility our tools provide
— Mark Rhodes,VP - IT Soluions

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