Recently several of our “Non” Managed IT customers have experienced some serious issues with a new Threat on the rise. Ransomware! What happened to our local customers who were victimized by these crimes?
Our customers without knowing or being protected correctly, clicked on an attachment in their email. That attachment started a process that was undetected by a Free Anti-Virus on their system. It went through and encrypted all of their files with over 35 different extensions. It left behind instructions on how to get their data back and requested money. The fraudsters demanded $536 dollars or the client would loose all their data. Another client’s request was over $1200.00 and lucky for them they had a backup that ran two nights before. Unfortunately the prior client didn’t back up and lost all their data except QuickBooks files.
What is Ransomware & CEO fraud and how an you prevent it? Let us explain.
What is Ransonware? This is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. CNN Money reports about new estimates from the FBI show that the costs from ransomware have reached an all-time high. Cyber-criminals collected 209 million dollars in the first three months of 2016 by extorting businesses and institutions. The agency also said that the losses could even be bigger once other related costs from these extortion schemes are factored in. Plus, some victims may choose to pay and not report the crime.
The FBI calls it “BEC” (Business Email Compromise), and like spear phishing it uses spoofed CEO emails to manipulate senior executives, HR and Accounting into damaging actions. Since January 2016, we have seen a massive rise in CEO fraud. A good example is the recent spate of W-2 scams where tax information of all employees gets emailed to the bad guys. And just recently it surfaced that a Mattel finance officer sent over 3 million dollars to a Bank in China. Did you know that in the Ukraine it is not illegal to hack outside of the country? Generally speaking these fraudsters commit their crimes undisturbed by their local law enforcement.
Why is CEO fraud so popular? SecurityWeek suggested two major reasons: “firstly, very few companies deliver security awareness training (such as simulated phishing attacks) against their own C-suite; and secondly, many senior executives still don’t believe that security is their personal concern”. How do you prevent CEO fraud? The FBI has instructed people to verify transactions by “picking up the phone”.
What happened to our local customers who were victimized by these crimes? We got them back up and running and installed two layers of security to defend against this. Remember, these clients were our Non Managed IT customers. If they had signed up for our Managed IT Services, the additional security layers would have protected them against this threat. Both clients have now switched and we can monitor their systems for any issues.
With our comprehensive IT support we can protect your business from scams such as this. We can remotely find and eliminate threats, as well as equip your business with powerful security tools to keep destructive malware out of your system. Don’t become the next Ransomware casualty; contact us at Symmetric IT Group to learn more about our Managed IT Service in Florida.