Jackson County, Georgia finds its coffers down by $400,000 this week thanks to cybercriminal ransom. A ransomware infection blocked access to the county IT systems for most of the local government with the exception of its website and 911 services. Though the county has hired a cyber-security consultant, they have yet to confirm how the breach happened. The consultant was able to negotiate with the ransomware operators for a decryption key, and the long arduous process of unlocking the ransomed files has begun.

“We had to make a determination on whether to pay,” Jackson County Manager Kevin Poe said. “We could have literally been down months and months and spent as much or more money trying to get our system rebuilt.” Poe also identified the ransomware as “Ryuk”, a well-known undecryptable ransomware strain. Ryuk ransomware seizes networks and files following brute force RDP attacks or phishing infections with Emotet or Trickbot malware.

The largest ransom ever paid was South Korean web hosting firm Internet Nayana, which paid 1.3 billion bitcoins to a hacker in 2017- the equivalent of $1.14 million.

Contact Petronella Tech to ensure your security software is ready to block ransomware like Ryuk!

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