Ransomware Attacks Hit US Courts, European Universities

The past weekend saw a series of ransomware attacks that affected servers belonging to Florida’s Supreme Court and several universities in the US and Central Europe. The scale and speed of these attacks have elicited warnings from national cyber watchdogs, as this type of digital extortion attempt and online ransom payments have become increasingly commonplace.

According to Ransomwhere, a crowdsourced platform that tracks such incidents, 3,800 organizations have been impacted by this campaign. In an interview with Reuters, Florida Supreme Court spokesman Paul Flemming reported that the affected infrastructure, which had been used to administer elements of the Florida state court system, was segregated from the Supreme Court’s main network.

Ransomware attacks are commonly caused by malicious software, often spread through email links or attachments. The emails look like they are from a legitimate source, like a bank or company. When the user clicks on the link or attachment, it will install the ransomware, designed to encrypt the user’s data and block access to the system. After this, the hackers will usually demand a ransom payment to release the data.

Awareness is key when it comes to preventing ransomware attacks, as the majority of infected systems are caused by user error. Organizations should ensure their staff is trained in cybersecurity best practices, such as patching systems regularly, using secure passwords, and avoiding suspicious emails. In addition, organizations should have a comprehensive backup system that allows them to recover their data in the event of an attack quickly.

Ransomware attacks are an ever-increasing threat to organizations across the globe. Organizations must understand the risks and take proactive steps to protect themselves from these malicious campaigns. With the right security measures in place, organizations can protect their data and reduce the chance of a successful attack.

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