Atlanta was hit with a particularly nasty ransomware attack this past March. The attack locked the urban center’s computer system for more than a full week. The damage rippled on out to several critical areas. The question is what law firms, businesses and other municipalities can take from this attack to help their own cause and help put an end to ransomware for good.
About Atlanta’s Ransomware Attack
The City of Atlanta’s computer network was attacked on March 21, 2018. The ransomware attack encrypted a significant portion of the city’s information. Hackers requested 0.8 bitcoin for each compromised computer, equaling six total bitcoin. This equates to a ransom of $50,000 to restore access to the system. The city’s court system, organizations and departments shut off all of their computers for several days. Even the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport shut down its Wi-Fi just to be safe. Below, we highlight four lessons to learn from Atlanta’s most recent digital attack.
1. Updates are Essential
Cyber thieves update their tactics with regularity so you must do the same. Fail to update your firm’s digital security protections and protocols and you could pay the ultimate price of losing clients. So do not merely align your firm with digital security solutions, plug them in and assume everything will work out by itself. Update your protections with regularity for a truly robust defense.
2. Secure the Networks
Though the City of Atlanta had its fair share of security defenses in place, these safeguards did not suffice. Take the opportunity to determine if your firm’s defenses are able to endure a similar attack. It might help to use a virtual private network or VPN. This tool secures online traffic, providing an extra layer of digital protection against attacks. A VPN will prove especially helpful if your law firm has plenty of remote workers.
3. Educate Your Team About Cyber Security Threats
It is often said a student is only as good as his or her teacher. Bring in some cyber security aficionados to teach your staff about the threats that lurk on the web. Keep in mind an employee error can override all the digital security mechanisms you put in place. Your team should be aware of threats, know how to respond to them and proactively defend against evil-doers in cyber space.
4. Never pay the Ransom!
It is awfully tempting to spend the money to regain access to your computers. However, it is a monumental mistake to fork over the bitcoin demanded in a ransomware attack. Even if you pay the ransom, you have no guarantee your files will be returned. Furthermore, the files could have been copied or viewed while your system was frozen. Some of these attacks have flawed cryptography so it might even be possible to pay a computer expert less money than the ransom to remedy the problem and return your files.