Cyber-attacks have continuously been on the rise in the past few decades and after the pandemic, this trend has exploded exponentially. As more things that ever have migrated to the virtual environment, digital criminals have more people to prey on than ever before. For individuals, businesses, and even large government institutes, this is becoming an increasingly complex problem to deal with. The latest trend is to hijack the information of a school, township authority, or any other state-run institution and demand a ransom to return the information.
Why Attackers Are Targeting Towns And Cities
Many institutes that are run at the local town level are great targets for hackers because these bodies often don't have the right kind of digital security that can protect them. Institutes such as libraries, schools, courts, and other government-run bodies are working with limited budgets yet they hold some very valuable information. More importantly, gaining access to these small networks gives the hackers easy access to larger state-level networks through internal routes.
Similarly, as these bodies are limited with finances they would rather pay to have their information back rather than try to regain it through some other means. When it comes to digital security these institutes are often relying on very primitive techniques or free solutions that don’t offer enough security.
How They Infiltrate
There are several ways through which hackers can gain access to local computers and networks. The most common strategy that is used is a phishing email. In this attack when the victim opens an email that has been compromised the hacker gains access through Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP). This is a solution that is traditionally used to help people assist each other when they are facing problems, however, for hackers, it is everything that they need to get information from the victim's machine. These emails are very efficiently camouflaged as being legitimate emails and guide the user to doing exactly what the hacker needs.
What You Can Do About It
While these circumstances can be very tough, there are a few things you can do that will greatly improve your security.
The main thing that hackers are playing on when they hijack information is the fact that the information or the data that they have stolen is of a high value to the user. In the case of personal information about a town's citizens or the banking information of a population, these are very sensitive things. With a good backup solution that encrypts the data when it is stored, it renders the data useless to anyone who steals those files. Secondly, if the hacker encrypts the data to make it useless, you have multiple other copies that you can use and continue.
The main problem is with poor digital literacy and people not being able to detect a fake email. Even though it's hard to find them, there are a few easy tell-tale signs that people should look for before opening any emails especially those that ask you to download additional files. More importantly, these institutes should also invest in hiring digital security professionals who can help in creating a more secure environment and setting up defense mechanisms that will protect sensitive information.