What do Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital and the University of Calgary have in common? Both were recently victims of the latest threat to businesses - Ransomware. In both cases, hackers took full control of their web and/or e-mail accounts. With Ransomware, the hackers take over e-mail accounts and company websites. They generally encrypt everything so access is denied. Then, they usually offer to sell the victims a decryption key, for a Bitcoin payment.
I recently attended a Cybersecurity training meeting that was co-hosted by the FBI. One of my questions was whether they had any success cracking Ransomware cases, or tracking Bitcoin payments. The answer to both was no. Obviously, both of these organizations have IT and legal departments. Hackers were still able to penetrate their organizations. I'm sometimes asked how can small businesses prevent being a victim of Cyber security crimes, if the "big guys" can't. There are actually quite a few things that can be done. Dr WIreless and Microsoft jointly offer Cyber security training programs in your office or ours. Most often, the breach is at the employee level.
The most common way hackers gain access is through company employees that are sloppy with security. Confusing passwords often cause employees to write them on sticky pads they hide under a kleenex box, or hide in a book, on their desk. Inserting a USB drive may seem harmless enough, unless it is used to deliver Malware. One of the biggest problems is Phishing. If you get an e-mail from your bank, PayPal, e-bay, etc., beware of opening any links. Often times, hackers will produce e-mails that actually look like they are coming from an organization that you deal with but they are not. Never open links from pages like this without sweeping your mouse over the return address and right clicking if needed. Launch a fresh web page to the organization versus clicking in from an e-mail.
For more information on how to protect your business from being a victim of cyber theft, visit or site, or contact me.
Joel Saltzman has over twenty years of wireless industry experience. He is currently CEO and Chief Wireless Analyst for Dr Wireless.