Tag Archive: ransomware

  1. New Orleans & Cybersecurity

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    In mid-December, the city of New Orleans suffered a cybersecurity breach so severe the mayor called a state of emergency, demonstrating a significant change in the cybersecurity landscape moving into the New Year.

    The ransomware attack in New Orleans began about 5 a.m. Dec. 13, when “suspicious activity” was detected on the city’s network, according to NOLA Ready, a local emergency preparedness campaign managed by the Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Citing a tweet from NOLA, Forbes magazine reported “activity indicating a cybersecurity incident was detected around 11 a.m.” More than 4,000 city computers were affected.

    Upon detecting the suspicious activity, the city’s IT department ordered all employees to shut down their computers, disconnect from the Wi-Fi, and unplug their devices. The city powered down all its servers.

    Damage Caused by Cybersecurity Breach

    Later that day in a press conference, Mayor Latoy Cantrell confirmed the security breach was due to ransomware, which infects a network or device and encrypts the data, making it unusable until the owner pays a ransom. Cantrell filed a declaration of a state of emergency with the Civil District Court, stating in the document that the city of New Orleans anticipates “various state and city agencies will need to work cooperatively to mitigate any damage, current or future, as a result of the cybersecurity incident.”

    New Orleans Chief Information Officer Kim LaGrue told WWNO, a station affiliated with New Orleans Public Radio, that the city was “prepared for a ransomware attack,” which means they had backups of the targeted data. According to LaGrue, the attack didn’t progress to the point where a ransom was demanded. The city’s strategy is to simply recover the data and return the system to normal.

    However, while IT engineers inspected the affected computers and systems, many city employees – including the police department – were unable to access the technology necessary to perform their jobs. Meanwhile, the cost of rebuilding the city’s computer network was approaching $1 million as of Dec. 16th.

    City officials from New Orleans have not publicly identified what type of ransomware was deployed in the attack. Still, several cybersecurity experts believe the likely weapon was RYUK, which hit state government servers in November, according to NOLA Media Group. RYUK, which is tied to organized crime, is a type of ransomware that infiltrates a computer, encrypts files, and demands payment – often in bitcoin – to decrypt the information.

    Cyber Threats: A Perpetual Problem

    According to Forbes, the FBI on Oct. 2 issued a cyber-attack warning in response to attacks on state and local governments, healthcare organizations, industrial companies, and the transportation sector. While the frequency of attacks remains about the same, the sophistication of the attacks is increasing. They also are more targeted and costly for victims.

    NOLA Media Group cited a study from Emisoft released in mid-December that claimed the U.S. faced an “unprecedented and unrelenting barrage of ransomware attacks” in 2019. Nationwide, approximately 103 state and local governments and agencies, 759 healthcare providers, and 86 school districts, universities, and colleges were hit by cybersecurity attacks.

    Heading into 2020, both public entities and private businesses should ensure they are protected against digital infiltration perpetuated by organized crime groups and individual actors. This means not only implementing safeguards against attacks on business tech but also having a disaster response plan. IT companies such as Integrated Axis Technology Group (IA) provide IT security services to ensure businesses’ networks are protected in the face of evolving cyber threats. From risk assessment and analysis to penetration testing and network monitoring, Integrated Axis can help companies in the Tucson area strengthen their ability to mitigate and recover from cybersecurity attacks in the New Year.

  2. Business Security: Malware to Watch Out For

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    The last thing you want to hear is that you have malware on any of your devices. Even worse is finding out you have malware that has infected your business computers.

    Business malware works the same way as other types of malicious software — and its aim is to get into your machines and compromise your data. As far as tech security measures, malware represents a dangerous threat for individuals and business safety.

    Types of Malware to Watch Out For

    Skull and crossbones behind the word "Malware," surrounded by red coding numbers.

    Data breaches must be avoided at all costs. The information held in your company’s computers and devices can leave you open to malware, identity theft, and even the loss of employee or customer records. Malware might seem like a small and easily managed threat, but new malicious software is developed all the time. It’s the most common way that hackers are able to gain access to your systems.

    Staying up-to-date regarding new, trending malware can help you avoid user errors that usually allow these scripts access to your devices.

    Recent malware threats to be aware of:

    – Trojan Word Doc

    This is a newer threat that’s easy to fall for. A word document is corrupted with a Trojan virus that then invades your machine. Because the file is a word document, it’s often downloaded via email. Trojans have become prevalent recently, but they’re relatively easy to guard against if you avoid opening documents that aren’t from a verified sender.

    – Adware

    Most people don’t know that adware is malware. It doesn’t usually steal information or compromise your data; it just gives you a bunch of ads to ignore. It does, however, open the door for hackers to get into your devices, as this article in Wired points out.

    – Ransomware

    A person on the computer trying to defend against a ransomware attack.

    Using new ransomware to hack data has gained momentum over the last few years, often targeting larger organizations. The malware invades your system and locks you out. Often the hackers then have access to your data, at which time they insist you pay them an incredible amount of money to restore your system.

    – Point of Sale Trojan 

    These Trojan viruses infect POS systems, stealing customer financial information. This type of malware can damage your reputation with customers and have a long-lasting impact.

    For most businesses, the best way to guard against malware is to develop a suitable protocol for employees to follow while on the job. Many of these types of breaches occur because best practices aren’t employed. Hackers are getting more sophisticated in their tactics to elicit a response, which makes them harder to guard against.

    Phishing is a common way for computers to get infected. This is where an email is sent with a corrupted link or

    If you’re concerned about your level of security or are interested in an overall document. The malware can only be installed if the recipient clicks on the link or downloads the file.

    Are You Looking for an Experienced Partner in Your Technology?

    IT consultation, contact Integrated Axis today. Our experienced staff can assess your business security strategies or help with any individual technology services you might need.