Major Thanksgiving weekend ransomware attack strikes municipal transportation agency, causing entire ticketing system to go down.
Fairfield, New Jersey — A ransomware attack struck San Francisco’s light rail ticketing system over Thanksgiving weekend, causing agency officials to make a choice: pay the ransom, cancel train service, or allow users to ride for free. As most cybersecurity experts recommend, they refused to pay the ransom. Rather than stopping service, the agency took the more charitable, service-oriented approach and let passengers ride for free until they system was successfully restored.
Andrew Rich, the owner and CEO of Quikteks, a New Jersey technical support company, said that the cybercriminals may or may not have specifically targeted the agency. “The culprits behind ransomware aren’t generally that methodical,” he explained. “Rather, they play the numbers game, sending out their malware and waiting to see who falls for it.”
Thus, businesses of all sizes are at risk. “Malware attacks that disrupt public services make the headlines because of their impact on both the business and the general public,” Rich said. “In this case, the ransom demand was for about $73,000 in bitcoin currency — and the system was unusable over one of the busiest times of the year. However, ransomware can strike any business, at any time. If ransomware were to affect your business’s critical systems, what would you do?”
Few business owners can afford to pay the ransom, nor should they. Likewise, few can afford to do without their systems for any length of time. According to Rich, prevention is more than just “good medicine,” it’s essential in combatting the threat of ransomware. He recommends a combination of computer security software and awareness training to help prevent malware from infecting your systems in the first place.
He also said that recovering from a ransomware attack is virtually impossible if you don’t plan for it with a solid backup system. Rich suggests that businesses in New Jersey should contact Quikteks to schedule a free computer security assessment to ensure adequate safeguards are in place to both prevent, and if necessary, recover from, a ransomware attack.
Based in Fairfield, New Jersey, Quikteks delivers cutting-edge, reliable and cost-effective business technology solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in the Tri-State area. The company’s computer solutions include 24-hour tech support, help desk support, computer support, consulting, and storing valuable and confidential data in a secure cloud.