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For the past week or so, government computers connected within the City of Greenville were down & out.
This comes after a ransomware attack infected majority of the city’s 800 computers earlier this month. The city is now working to resolve its ransomware issue without having to pay the attackers. Things were so crazy, the FBI got involved.
According to Public Information Officer Brock Letchworth, email is back for some, and the city’s website is up and running again.
The city told 9 On Your Side Friday that they never had any intention to pay the ransom.
Letchworth said IT staff is reimaging all computers in the city and working to restore its systems.
While there is still work to be done, IT professional said a ransomware attack can happen to anyone.
“They are just sitting behind a computer,” Carolina IT Group President Joseph Martin said. “They don’t have to break into banks or break into your house anymore. They can do it from anywhere in the world.”
Martin said ransomware attacks are on the rise.
“It’s been a big increase in the past five years,” Martin said. “It has grown way more sophisticated. We are all connected now, and that’s why it is so easy to do this.”
While criminals typically go after government bodies and large targets, small businesses are also at risk.
Martin said he has seen companies go out of business due to bankruptcy from cyber attacks.
“It’s really everybody,” Martin said. “We have seen mom and pop shops with one to two people, all the way up to major corporations with hundreds of thousands of employees. It happens to all of them.”
He said Carolina IT Group gets calls monthly from people impacted by ransomware.
He added that one of the most common ways is getting hacked via email.
He said the following signs should be red flags:
- Receiving emails from addresses you do not know or are not expecting
- Receiving emails with misspellings or poor grammar
- Receiving emails containing unexpected wire transfer requests
- Receiving long or weird-looking URLs via email
Martin said when in doubt, do not open the email or link.
He said the best thing is to contact a professional to set up your system correctly to prevent and recover from any attack.