The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority (SFMTA) was hit with a ransomware attack the morning of Friday, Nov. 25. It is reported that the hacker demanded approximately $73,000 USD to restore operations. Fortunately, the SFMTA had an information technology team in place and backup systems that allowed the SFMTA to bounce back without paying a cent. This is a win for their pocket book, but the organization’s reputation and public trust took a big hit.

Why this attack is a wake-up call for all businesses

The cybersecurity forensics researcher working with the FBI and the Department of Homeland security found that the hacker has extorted “at least $140,000 in bitcoin from victim organizations since August.” No organization is immune to cyber-risks, and there is an urgent need for all businesses in every sector to look for ways to beef up their own security before they become victims of similar attacks. The costs of being unprepared can be extreme, even resulting in business closing.

Malware-based ransomware is becoming an increasingly popular way for cyber criminals to make money and is affecting businesses worldwide. Legacy systems that were built without cybersecurity in mind contain vulnerabilities that makes them extremely susceptible to cyberattacks. Businesses must absolutely take a holistic approach to securing their data and systems. This requires an IT assessment to identify gaps that will put your business at risk.

Other recommendations for protecting against malware include:

  • The top recommendation for counteracting ransomware is to have a data backup and recovery plan for all critical information — and TEST it regularly.
  • Use application whitelisting to help prevent malicious software and unapproved software from running
  • Keep operating systems and applications up-to-date with the latest security patches
  • Maintain up-to-date anti-virus software and scan all downloaded software before running
  • Restrict users’ ability to install and run unwanted software applications, and apply the principle of least privilege to all systems and services
  • Disable macros from email attachments
  • DO NOT click links in unsolicited emails

Learn More. Get the Report

Download “How to Protect Your Network from Ransomware” for more guidance on how to protect against and respond to dangerous malware and ransomware incidences.

How to Protect Your Network from Ransomware

A U.S. government interagency technical guidance document aimed to inform CIOs and CISOs at critical infrastructure entities, including small, medium and large organizations about already existing Federal government and private industry best practices and mitigation strategies focused on the prevention and response to malware incidents.

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