Tips on Protection from Ransomware Hackers - WTRF 7 News Sports Weather - Wheeling Steubenville

Tips on Protection from Ransomware Hackers

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They're calling it Blue Monday.

Cyber chaos spread over the globe, following the weekend's ransomware attack.

It gets into your system simply enough, usually through an email attachment.

Not an outrageous email that claims a doctor died and left you ten million dollars, but an ordinary one, seeming to be from someone you know.

"When I get that email from someone who is a friend or a regular customer or client, I think oh yeah, I get email from them all the time," said John Reasbeck, president of Omni Strategic Technologies in Wheeling. "It's not that unusual that there's an attachment. And I click on it and come to find out that they got hacked and now I've been hacked."

Reasbeck said when the hacking first began, you'd know it immediately.

Your files would lock up.

Now hackers have evolved, and you can't tell it has happened.

But it's working--and not just on your own files.

"And now instead of one machine being down, five machines or ten machines or a server are down," Reasbeck noted.

He says it can happen to anyone.

"Whether you are the biggest business, the United States government or a small one-man shop, if you have an Internet connection and your computer's on it, you're a target," he said.

Even if your data has value only to you, such as family photos, it could be taken for ransom.

He says the hackers even provide a Help Desk to assist victims through the process of paying to get their data back.

"We're not always talking about bank accounts and credit card information," he said. "We're talking about any data that's stored on a machine."

He says fire walls and spam filters are helpful, but not failsafe.

And checking with the sender of each email, or deleting each email, is sometimes not feasible.

"If you're an HR person who receives numerous emails on a regular basis, it becomes very tricky," he said.

He says frequent backups are essential.

And you shouldn't hesitate to get professional help.

He says technology is just like a tool of any trade--it has to be maintained and protected.

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