k_Street Consulting, LLC Blog
The FBI is Extremely Concerned About Ransomware; and You Should Be Too
Ransomware is an incredibly disruptive threat that can put your business at risk, but it is increasingly becoming not just a fiscal risk to organizations, but also to the physical health and wellbeing of communities and individuals. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has issued a warning that should have everyone concerned about the future of ransomware attacks, not just in business, but in everyday life.
Ordinarily, with ransomware attacks against businesses or individuals, files are locked down with encryption, preventing the organization and the user from accessing them until a ransom is paid. While this is certainly devastating, in a business sense, the worst that can happen is that they will be forced to shut their doors or be subject to massive lawsuits regarding the privacy and protection of sensitive data. But what if these ransomware attacks targeted local governments or agencies?
In this warning from the FBI, they caution that ransomware attacks against local governments can put a halt to services which the public depends on, like healthcare, emergency response teams, and so on. The warning states: "In the next year, local US government agencies almost certainly will continue to experience ransomware attacks, particularly as malware deployment and targeting tactics evolve, further endangering public health and safety, and resulting in significant financial liabilities."
Consider what might happen if a hospital or doctor’s office cannot access the files of its patients. What might happen if these patients are in critical condition? What about if there is a significant emergency and the response team can’t do anything about it because their infrastructure is locked down by a ransomware attack? Not only are sensitive records compromised, but systems in place to prevent or respond to disasters cannot operate effectively.
The fact of the matter is that lives are at risk, and if emergency response systems, healthcare records, and other public government agency organizations cannot access the files or networks needed to maintain order, chaos and loss of life can ensue. The worst part about this whole situation is that hackers have absolutely no problem profiting off this misfortune and chaos. They believe that when lives are at risk, they are more likely to make a quick buck, and it’s absolutely deplorable.
What Can You Do?
The FBI recommends several countermeasures that can help you decrease the risk and damage done by ransomware attacks. Here are just a few of them:
- Keep your operating systems and software up-to-date and apply patches as needed to ensure critical vulnerabilities are resolved.
- Require strong passwords for network access and online accounts.
- Utilize multi-factor authentication whenever possible.
- Implement data backup solutions just in case you need to restore a previous version of your data. It’s best to store these backups offsite where they cannot be targeted by the ransomware attack, and you should ensure they are tested regularly.
Ransomware can be scary, but with k_Street Consulting, LLC on your side, you won’t have to worry so much. Rest assured that we will do all we can to protect your infrastructure. To learn more, reach out to us at (202) 640-2737.