ransomware attack

Colorado City Pays Up After Ransomware Attack

Ransomware attacks on individuals and businesses can be extremely bad news. City officials of Lafayette, Colorado are currently having to handle the unfortunate repercussions that come with this bad news.

The city of Lafayette was forced to pay $45,000 after their systems were targeted by hackers. They were informed that their system had become encrypted, which meant that they were unable to access the system. Only when they paid the fee were the systems able to be restored. 

The impact of this ransomware attack was felt immediately. The city’s email, phone, online payments, and reservation systems were all compromised. 

Of course, the officials did not want to pay the fee to restore the city’s systems, but in this case, they had no other option. They had tried to find other ways of getting around the attack, however, ultimately staff were unable to regain access. 

Though the systems were down, the government said that no personal information, such as credit card details, had been stolen. Even so, they asked the residents to be on the lookout for anything suspicious, just in case. 

In response to the attack, many local and city governments including Lafayette’s are planning to update all of its systems with extra security measures in place.

What Is Ransomware?

So what exactly is ransomware? It’s a pretty simple concept. It’s a type of malware that would cause the contents of the victim’s files to become encrypted, which means they wouldn’t be able to access the files. The only way to regain access to the files is to pay the ransom; this is where the term ransomware comes from. 

We saw above in the case of Lafayette, Colorado that the government had to pay $45,000- but in reality, the ransom could have been much higher. The true power of ransomware lies in that it can be very difficult to undo the damage of a ransomware attack, which often just makes it easier to pay. 

How to Prevent Ransomware Breaches

The people who want to infect your computer with ransomware can’t accomplish what they want without you, unless you take steps to protect yourself, that is. There are plenty of things you can do, including making sure that system’s operating system is always kept up to date. 

It’s also recommended that you install antivirus software. You should also look at working with an experienced  IT company in Centennial, especially if you’re running a business—they’ll be able to help you to stay protected. Though doing so won’t necessarily prevent attacks, backing up your important files and documents will also help limit the damage of a ransomware attack.

As we’ve seen, ransomware is a serious threat that both individuals and companies (and clearly, governments) should keep in mind. They’ve been around for years but they show no signs of disappearing for good, in large part because they’ve been shown to still be effective. 

While advances in cyber protection have been developed, it’s always a game of cat and mouse with cybercriminals, who also continue to improve their methods and hacking technology.