A Georgia county was forced to pay $400,000 to cyber criminals last week to get their systems back online after a devastating cyber attack.
A ransomware attack that impacted Jackson County emergency services and crippled the government’s computer systems cost the rural community $400,000, the county manager confirmed Saturday.
County manager Kevin Poe said that cyber-security consultants hired by the county paid the ransom in the crypto-currency, Bitcoin, which is difficult to trace. Investigators still have not determined how the hackers gained access to the government systems and no arrests have been made.
Ransomware attacks occur when a computer is infected with a deadly virus that moves through a network and spreads to other computers, encrypting data along the way.
Jackson County’s computer system went down late on March 1 or early the next day, Poe confirmed. Many county offices turned to paper while the system was down....
It's been roughly a year since the city of Atlanta was the victim of an attack and refused to pay the relatively hefty price for the key. The city ended up spending much more to rebuild its networks and begin new safety measures to prevent it from happening in the future. The impact lasted months.
Does this sound like a nightmare? Ransomware has become an increasing problem for city and county governments across the country and even around the state of Georgia. This isn't just an issue that affects large cities like Atlanta and Macon - hackers often target small city governments due to their lack of protection.
Ransomware is a virus that infects your computer and encrypts all of your files, making them inaccessible and impossible to recover any of them in almost all cases. Just having a backup of your files isn't enough to protect you, either - ransomware hackers will immediately delete any onsite backups you may have, eliminating a potential recovery method so that you are forced to pay them.
The best way for city governments, government departments, or businesses to protect themselves from ransomware is to have an cloud/offsite backup of all of their important files. That way, you can reset your infected devices and restore them from your secure cloud backups.
Is your business vulnerable to ransomware? Contact us if you have any questions!