UPDATE: Internal documents restored after ransomware hack

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UPDATE 1/13/17@11 a.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Schools tell WSAZ their internal documents have been restored after a ransomware hack Thursday.

MGN

They say the website is still in the process of coming online.

School officials say they anticipate the website will be up pretty soon.



UPDATE 1/12/17 @ 6:30 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Schools are working to restore computer files after a ransomware hack.

Director of Communication Briana Warner says it happened Wednesday evening.

No personal information or documents were accessed, but the hack left internal data encrypted and inaccessible to staff at the board office.

This type of hack requests money to get access back to your information.

"According to the FBI, do not pay these criminals," urged Tina Cobb with Associated Systems Professionals, a computer company in South Charleston. "That's who they are is criminals."

Cobb says ASP will help people who believe their computer has been hacked by ransomware or other viruses.

She says this type of attack is not new, but it's becoming much more common. Forty percent of businesses across the country were hit by ransomware in 2016, she said.

"We have successfully restored several of our clients' files after they have been hit with ransomware," Cobb said. "When we've submitted these files to the FBI, they've said do not pay the ransomware criminals. All they're doing is exploiting businesses for money. That's all it is. You know, we've even found they have really nice help desk because they really want to help you pay."

Not only will these criminals offer "help desks", but Cobb says they will often give you a 48 to 72 hour deadline to pay. She says to not be intimidated by this and instead go to a computer service company that can help you. She says many will send workers out to your home to try to fix the problem.

To prevent an attack like this in the first place, Cobb says you should make sure your computer has an up to date operating system, as well as your anti-malware and anti-virus systems.

"Make sure you have a really good disaster plan," Cobb said. "We've had several clients that we have solved their ransomware problem by going through these steps with their computers and they haven't had to pay a thing."

Just having backup files isn't enough, Cobb said.

"Test those backups because a backup says that it worked well, doesn't mean that it really went through," Cobb said. "It could be corrupt and therefore cannot be restored, as well."

That's why she says it's important to work with an experienced computer service company, like ASP. She says not all companies have experience working with ransomware and may not be able to help with your specific issue.

In 2015, there were 1,000 ransomware attacks per day, Cobb said. In 2016, that number grew to 4,000 cases a day.

To avoid being one of those victims, Cobb says you should also know the red flags. Suspicious looking email attachments are known to carry viruses and ransomware. Cobb says to not only pay attention to the extension type (i.e. .PDF) but who the sender is.

"Who is that email coming from," said Cobb. "Do they normally send you those kinds of files?"

Cobb says 90 percent of the ransomware cases she's seen have breached the computer through an email attachment.

"It's very important that you educate your employees on how to watch for attachments that are something other than what they say," Cobb said. "So PDF documents that have a .exe or a different extension other than a PDF. There's just lots of things that we instruct our customers on to educate their employees."



ORIGINAL STORY
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Kanawha County Schools are working to restore their website after a ransomware hack.

Director of Communication Briana Warner says it happened Wednesday evening.

No personal information or documents were accessed, but the hack left internal data encrypted and inaccessible to staff at the board office.

This type of hack requests money to get access back to your information.

"We have multiple protected servers housing different information and the only one accessed just had info related to the website and internal staff documents. Nothing with student info or anything affecting teachers," said Warner.

Warner says this has happened to other districts in the country.

They aren't sure who is responsible for the hacking but it is being investigated.

Kanawha County Schools posted on their Facebook page that their website is down for the time being.



 
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