By now, most of us are at least aware of the dangers of malware. At it's best, it results in a headache and a few conversations with IT. At it's worst, it steals your sensitive information, slows or locks your computer down, and can even cause substantial financial and reputational damage. However, for many users, it feels much like a phantom threat that is rarely experienced in large part because of effective anti-virus software. The unfortunate truth is that most organizations are woefully unprepared, under-protected, and will be completely overwhelmed when an attack is successfully executed in it's entirety. A perfect example of this can be found in the City of New Orleans, where the municipal government has declared a state of emergency due to a ransomware attack.
It took about 6 hours for the city's IT department to detect and respond to this attack, leaving ample time for the attackers to move through the network, infecting computers and causing more damage as they went. Information is still limited on what's happening with this specific case, but the incident goes to show that cybercriminals are becoming more and more bold. The jump from targeting private businesses and individuals to government bodies is significant, and we can expect to see more attacks of this nature in the future. It also shows that bad actors are still actively seeking targets for ransomware attacks, making security best practices and preventative measures all the more important.
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