Last month, we published a blog about ransomware, what is is and how to avoid it.
Well, this week, BBC News reported the case of a real life ransomware attack with the hackers demanding £1 million to restore the website. Whilst this attack is extreme and unfortunate, it serves to show us that ransomware is a real threat and that no one is safe.
Who were the victims of the ransom ware attack?
Lincolnshire County Council announced that their computer systems have been closed for four days after being hit by computer malware demanding a £1m ransom. Yes, that’s right, a local council had their website hacked using ransom ware. It doesn’t just happen to huge multi-national media giants, but to small local councils as well.
As you can imagine, a website such as this, whilst perhaps not effecting people across the country, has a huge impact on those who live in the area.
Chief information officer Judith Hetherington-Smith said this of the ransom ware attack:
“It happened very quickly. Once we identified it we shut the network down, but some damage is always done before you get to that point – and some files have been locked by the software.
“A lot of the files will be available for us to restore from the back-up.”
The council described the ransom ware as, unsurprisingly, “the biggest attack” it had ever experienced, adding it was “zero-day malware”, meaning it was previously unknown to security experts.
However, the authority said it was “unfortunate to be the first victim”, but was confident it had appropriate security measures in place.
So what does this tell us about ransom ware?
Essentially, this reminds us that no one is safe. The sensitive information your website hold doesn’t have to be bank details or passwords to be hacked, these cycler criminals will target any useful website if they feel they can gain some quick cash from it.
Luckily, Lincolnshire County Council recognised the signs quickly and had their IT support on the case immediately, meaning the damage done wasn’t catastrophic. And, sensibly, they had a lot of information backed up meaning that they had a Plan B. This should be how anyone, running any sized business, charity or council should be using their IT.
Security is so important online these days, as Lincolnshire County Council learned. Make sure, you are as prepared as they were, should you be hot by a ransom ware attack.