This week, traffic in the southeastern U.S. slowed to a literal stop after the sudden shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline caused by a ransomware attack resulted in gas stations running out of fuel. The 5,500-mile pipeline transports 2.5 million barrels a day across the country, accounting for 45 percent of the east coast fuel supply. In Georgia, Governor Kemp declared a state of emergency.
Beyond the inconvenience of waiting in line for gas or worrying about fueling your vehicle, what does this all have to do with you? If you are a business owner, the Colonial Pipeline situation is a big wake-up call, even if you consider your business small and an unlikely target of hackers. Unfortunately, ransomware attacks on small businesses are extremely common in 2021. You may be shocked to learn that one business is compromised every three hours on average.
Ransomware attacks are nothing new. A similar, although not globally impactful, attack occurred at ashleymadison.com in 2015. When employees came into work and turned on their computers, instead of hearing the usual Windows startup sound, they were instead greeted with AC/DCs Thunderstruck playing at max volume and a message displaying instructions about how to pay the ransom. Since Ashley Madison is an online cheating service whose motto is “Life is Short, Have an Affair,” this too made the national news.
If you are not involved in managing technology and cybersecurity, you may think that ransomware attacks mainly happen to high-profile organizations. While the fuel shortage is inconvenient, you may be of the mind that “this too shall pass” and it will be time to move on to the next fire drill.
It’s easy to take this attitude, as most of these crimes that cost time, money, and a loss of productivity, income and essential – sometimes very sensitive – data, do not make the news, including one that happened recently to an arobasegroup client.
Our client’s story is not nearly as dramatic as either of the stories above, and happened as a result of an employee working from home on their unmanaged/unauthorized personal (out-of-date) Windows computer. Unfortunately, this employee exposed company-owned data via the cloud by clicking on a link in a phishing email from their personal account and personal computer.
This was, as the saying goes, a tragedy of errors. We were able to help the client save their network and implemented cost-effective ways to protect their business from the multiple mistakes that resulted in them becoming vulnerable. They will avoid ransomware attacks, phishing emails and other malware going forward.
We can help you or your business stay safe in this treacherous cybersecurity landscape. No matter how big or small your business, be sure it is protected and you’ll sleep better at night!
arobasegroup has been consulting with clients and advising the best use of Apple Technology since 1998. We listen to our customers and solve problems by addressing their specific, unique needs; we never rely on a one-size-fits-all solution or require them to use a specific product. arobasegroup is your advocate in all things related to information technology. Contact us to learn how we can help: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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