There is an explosion of ransomware attacks lately. Just this week my home state, Southern Ohio Medical Center in Portsmouth, Ohio was forced to divert ambulances after what they called, “an unplanned downtime of clinical systems.”  Just a few hours later, the hospital admitted what many suspected, they were the latest victim in a string of cyber-attacks targeting businesses and organizations across Ohio and the nation.

According to a statement from the hospital, “This morning, an unauthorized third-party gained access to SOMC’s computer servers in what appears to be a targeted cyber attack. We are working with federal law enforcement and internet security firms to investigate this incident.”

The hospital is not the only organization in Ohio currently held hostage by these crooks. The Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s website went down earlier this week after a ransomware attack. The library said, “As you may know, the Library has been experiencing network issues this week due to a cybersecurity incident. We are working with a team of network and forensic experts to restore services as quickly as possible.”

Several television stations across the country were hit by a ransomware attack on the Sinclair Broadcast Group nearly a month ago with some stations still unable to insert local commercials. Instead, viewers see a graphic asking for their patience as the company addresses the attack.

Even comic books have been hit by cyber-criminals. Diamond Distribution, the largest distributor of comics and graphic novels in the USA, had operations ground to a halt after cyber-criminals took over their system.

Just three days ago, the Justice Department announced the indictment of a Ukrainian man and a Russian man in ransomware attacks where victims paid the men upwards of $6 million.

So, what can you do? Most of these attacks are against businesses and larger organizations, but you still need to be alert.

  • Make sure your security software is up-to-date
  • Don’t use an unsupported operating system like Windows 7 or XP on a computer with Internet access.
  • Be incredibly careful about opening attachments or clicking on links.
  • Back up everything in case of an attack

When you’re at work, be even more vigilant about making sure everything is secure and not opening unexpected files. If management hasn’t briefed everyone about the ransomware threat, maybe suggest that it’s a good time to bring it up.