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Avoid Ransomware Attacks

Overview

Ransomware a form of software specifically designed to disrupt, damage, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system. This malicious software then encrypts users’ files or locks their operating systems, rendering them unusable until a ransom is paid. Cyber criminals then demand large sums of money in exchange for decryption and restored access.

Insights

Public schools and universities are becoming prime targets of large-scale ransomware attacks.

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Over 1500 schools, colleges, and universities were impacted in 2020 with California schools and universities being impacted more severely than any other state.

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UC San Francisco was forced to pay $1.14 million to a cyber-criminal gang in June 2020.

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According to Palo Alto Networks, the average ransom demand rose 144% in 2021 to $2.2 million, while the number of victims whose data was leaked grew by 85% in 2021, both new record highs.

 


Security Tactics

  • Update software and operating systems with the latest patches. Outdated applications and operating systems are the targets of most attacks.
  • Never click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails.
  • Back up data regularly. Use cloud storage where possible to manage offline backups.
  • Follow safe practices when using devices that connect to the Internet.
  • Delete suspicious e-mails. Deals that sound too good to be true are probably malicious. 
  • Use e-mail filtering options whenever possible. E-mail or spam filtering can stop a malicious message from reaching your inbox.

Resources