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Ransomware Victimizes Kanawha County Schools

Kanawha County Schools Struggles To Regain Access

Another county school was victimized by ransomware this week.  Kanawha County Schools, located in Charleston, West Virginia was hit with ransomware on January 11, 2017.  As of today, January 13, 2017, the school continues to work on regaining access to their encrypted files.

Officials are not reporting the ransomware variant that infected the school’s systems.  They are also not sharing the ransom demands.  According to WSAZ News, the FBI has encouraged the school not to pay the cyber criminals.

Malware Prevention – Best Practices

Unfortunately, these attacks are becoming more and more common.  To avoid falling victim to these cyber crimes you should implement the following best practices:

  1. Use a security solution that implements application whitelisting.  Application whitelisting technology is designed to only allow known trusted applications to run.  These trusted applications have been tested by malware researchers, and are known to be malware free.  Anything that has not been tested and deemed safe, cannot run.
  2. Understand, back ups are not enough.  Just because you back up your data, does not mean that is enough.  You need to back up on an external drive or use cloud-based storage.  You also need to test your back-ups, ensuring everything was backed-up and they are not corrupt.
  3. Ensure your PC system and programs are updated.  Many malware attacks are able to execute because the PC has not been updated, leaving vulnerabilities exposed.  By ensuring your operating system and programs are up to date, you’ll be able to mitigate your malware risk exposure.
  4. Educate yourself.  In order to know what red flags to look for, you need to be aware of what the current cyber security threats are.  Cyber security training is encouraged.  You can also sign up for our weekly newsletter to stay updated on the current cyber threats.
  5. Click wisely.  Often times, ransomware attacks are executed through phishing scams.  Meaning malicious files are sent to you via email.  Before you open emails and attachments, it is strongly advised that you review the email.  Make sure you know the sender, are expecting the email, the hyperlinks within the email are secure, look for typos, etc.  Simply double checking and validating the email, can save you a world of trouble!

Other Attacks

As 2017 progresses, we will continue to accumulate a list of the publicized ransomware attacks. You access this list at anytime, you can click here.

We have also created a ransomware map, see below, of the ransomware attacks that have taken place in the U.S. this year.

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