MERIT Solutions Blog

Cops Lock Up Criminals, Ransomware Locks Up Cops

Cops Lock Up Criminals, Ransomware Locks Up Cops

Society relies on law enforcement to enforce laws in a fair and just manner, but even the police have their work cut out for them when they are targeted by a cyberattack. A recent incident in Cockrell, Texas shows that not even the police are immune to the threats of ransomware--particularly the emerging brand of ransomware, Osiris.

Before you start to panic over a new type of ransomware, you should know that Osiris is a particular strain of the Locky ransomware. The only difference seems to be the file extension for the encrypted files, which is “.osiris.” The main takeaway from this event is that sometimes even the good guys don’t have what it takes to protect themselves from unfortunate events--a truth all-too-painfully real for a business owner.

This type of ransomware attack started off just like any other. Out of nowhere, the police were shown a message that claimed their files had been locked down, with paying a fee of $4,000 being the only way of recovering them. The cause for this ransomware was a spoofed email that claimed to be from another part of the police department. In an attempt to get rid of the ransomware, the police followed what’s commonly called a best practice for this type of situation: restore a backed-up copy of the server’s data.

Unfortunately for them, the backup that they tried to restore from had also been infected, as it was taken after the systems were infected with the ransomware.

As you can imagine, this caused quite a bit of trouble for the Cockrell Police Department. Included in the encrypted files were photographic and video evidence that could have been used in the prosecution of criminals. Whether or not this particular instance will mean anything for legal battles in the future is yet to be determined, but it sure is convenient for those who are involved with them.

What this shows us is that ransomware is a threat for anyone who relies on data to perform their daily duties, businesses notwithstanding. A ransomware attack at the wrong time could be enough to completely upend operations, and it forces you to reconsider your approach to cybersecurity. You need to consider every single user of your email solution is a potential outlet of a ransomware attack. It also emphasizes the importance of keeping current backups archived in an off-site location so that you can guarantee you won’t be put in the same situation as these police officers.

If your business wants to take a stand against ransomware, MERIT Solutions can serve and protect you. We can help you implement spam-blocking solutions and security measures to keep ransomware from installing on your devices in the first place. Furthermore, we can help your employees know what to look for so that they don’t make the same mistakes as the Cockrell P.D. To learn more about network security, reach out to us at (757) 420-5150.

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Wednesday, August 05 2020

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