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Headlines such as the ones above are sadly commonplace as we see them in the news all too often these days. Unfortunately, 2019 has seen an unprecedented level of ransomware attacks on state and local governments, public institutions and small businesses. As my eyes get blurry from reading the news, the recent ransomware attack on the Rockville Centre School District has hit too close to home.
So, what happened exactly?
In July 2019, the Rockville Centre School District’s servers were hacked with a ransomware virus that encrypted files in the system. As a result, the school district was locked out of their computer networks and was not able to access any critical files or data. Ultimately, the Nassau county school district decided to make the payments to the hackers in order to get the decryption keys needed to get their systems back up and running. According to the Rockville Centre Superintendent William Johnson, the payment, covered by the school’s insurance, was necessary to restore the district’s communications systems, as well as other data needed to run day-to-day operations.
Misconceptions, misconceptions, misconceptions…
Education institutions might have to find out some facts and truths the hard way. Or not – if they understand the following:
The Rockville Centre Union Free School District, upon discovery of the issue, rightly contacted the Nassau County Police Department, the FBI, and the Department of Homeland Security. However, contrary to what you might have seen in the movies – or what you may expect to happen – the intelligence agencies of the United States will NOT magically become your cybersecurity services provider as a result of a ransomware attack. Sure, these government agencies came in and analyzed the data, and perhaps even helped stop the ransomware from spreading, but they are not the heroes the school system was relying on.
If you are expecting the cops and the FBI to swoop in and save the day – you’re relying on the wrong partners. Local governments and school districts need to realize that they are on their own to defend against, mitigate the impact of, and recover from ransomware and other cybersecurity threats.
Unless…you partner up with a world-class managed IT security services provider like our company – Kaytuso.
Solutions & What You Can Do
Before I lay out your options, let me be absolutely clear in no uncertain terms that accessible, affordable and powerful cybersecurity solutions are within every organization’s reach. You do not have to break the bank to get world-class IT security services for your school district. Period.
We can all agree that ransomware is a huge problem: it is costly, and it is often catastrophic. But prevention or mitigation is entirely possible. Although paying up is a viable solution in the rare situation that you don’t have adequate backups, we can always help you prepare better and strongly position your institution for the future so that you can mitigate devastating cyber threats lurking in the digital world. Our solutions can limit the chances of an attack gaining a foothold – and if it does, make the outage measured in hours and minutes, not in tens of thousands of dollars.
A robust cybersecurity solution starts with intense planning and thoughtful implementation. It involves a comprehensive strategy, proactive monitoring, and rapid recovery plans. Here at Kaytuso, we work with every single client to define a full IT security policy, deploy cutting-edge cybersecurity defenses and enact doomsday recovery plans. We render an incident response plan, disaster response plan, and business continuity plan – all in place to ensure your organization can withstand cyberattacks of any scale. It is critical the plans follow a proven structure like the NIST Risk Management Framework and Cybersecurity Framework. Furthermore, these plans must be tested and proven.
Did you know?
The Rockville Centre UFSD website and other sources report the IT systems were encrypted by Ryuk. Ryuk is known as one of the more effective ransomware viruses in circulation yet it is entirely preventable. This means a properly deployed antimalware solution should stop the malware from executing. Appropriately installed, configured, and updated antimalware solutions are a critical part of cybersecurity best practices – which also include fully patched systems, and correctly configured endpoints and network devices. Do this, and most ransomware will never get a foothold, let alone encrypt any data. However, even the most sophisticated solutions will not stop everything. So, the holistic security plan must also include backup, recovery, and continuity plans to mitigate the damage done when an undetected weakness is exploited. At Kaytuso, we deploy and manage advanced antimalware solutions and implement common-sense baseline safeguards to minimize risks, detect threats, and move proactively to contain and eliminate breaches before damage spreads.
Referring to the press releases and reports of the breach at Rockville Centre UFSD, they were able to recover data from backups, but still, they saw the ransom get paid. The only thing I can understand justifying that action is if the estimated costs of recovery were more than the ransom and the risk of not being open before the start of school. What good is a backup and recovery solution if it isn’t the most effective? The IT security solutions we provide for business continuity and disaster recovery (in addition to file backup and recovery) can replace an entire server in minutes, not days or weeks. Additionally, we routinely test by restoring backups locally on your network and in a secure cloud.
Get Started – NOW!
Can your educational institution withstand a substantial cyberattack? In today’s hostile digital climate – the best strategic course of action is to be aggressively prepared against malicious bad actors and implement robust safeguards to deter them away. Kaytuso, a premier managed security services provider in New York City can help your organization protect itself completely and thoroughly and give you the peace of mind to do what you do best – prepare our youngsters for a brighter future ahead.
Contact us today via or call us directly at 212-299-7673 to talk to one of our IT security experts.
Let’s get you started on the road to cyber safety!
– Michael Schenck, Director of Security Services | Kaytuso
Kaytuso – the cybersecurity & regulatory compliance division of ManhattanTechSupport.com LLC.
Exceed Digital – the custom software development and business intelligence solutions division of ManhattanTechSupport.com LLC