phishing attack new orleansWhile it might sound like an episode of a popular drama series that takes place in New Orleans, the city was under attack by hackers recently, forcing the mayor to declare a state of emergency. Phishing attempts, ransomware, and suspicious activity were all detected on the city’s network in December at approximately five o’clock in the morning. However, by eleven AM, the city’s IT department detected a “cybersecurity incident” and began powering down servers and city computers as a precaution. While it sounds like the tech team was on top of things and saved the city from potential harm, malware cyberattack threats like this can be extremely dangerous. In spite of ransomware being detected, a spokesperson for the New Orleans Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness stated that there was no ransom demand made.

Multi-Department Investigations

At this time, the City of New Orleans, along with the Louisiana State Police, Louisiana National Guard, the FBI, and even the Secret Service, have all launched investigations into this attack. Experts do not believe that any employee information was compromised during these phishing attacks in New Orleans, but the investigation is still ongoing. The good news is that the city’s 9-1-1 system and other essential networks were not affected by the attack. This is not the first major attack in Louisiana. Just a few months ago, several school systems within the state were attacked by malware, which led to the governor issuing a state of emergency following that incident.

You might wonder what a small or mid-size business can do in the face of malware cyberattack threats like the ones that were used in the New Orleans cyberattack. Surely these government offices and officials have the best tools and software for ensuring networking security. How does your company’s network security program compare? Many of the cyberattacks that are being seen today are much more complex and sophisticated than they were just a few years ago. While state and city governments have been top targets across the nation, even small “mom and pop” businesses and local organizations have also experienced phishing and ransomware attacks. What can you do to protect your business?

Reduce Vulnerabilities for Attack

While anti-virus, anti-malware, and other software applications designed for business are extremely helpful in the fight against malware cyberattack threats and ransomware attacks, they are not enough. Today’s businesses need a multi-faceted approach to security for their networks and all other company technology. Desktops, mobile devices, smartphones, and personal devices all need to be protected to ensure the safety of your business network. One of the best ways to prevent something like the phishing attacks in New Orleans from impacting your business is to provide employee education. Many attacks can be prevented with proper training and support.

In addition to education, it is also essential to perform regular updates. We do not know the cause or vulnerability that was involved in the New Orleans cyberattack, but everything you can do to shore up your business will help. Software updates and upgrades can thwart many common attacks that take advantage of systems that have not updated their software. Outdated operating systems, applications, and business programs have known issues and vulnerabilities. All today’s cybercriminals need is just a tiny window to gain access to your network, computer system, and critical company data. They profit by stealing data, such as customer or company financial information, or install malicious code. Performing regular updates and patches can eliminate these known vulnerabilities to protect your business.

Phishing and Spear Phishing Attacks

The recent phishing attacks in New Orleans are not unusual. These types of attacks happen every day all across the country and around the globe. Many cybercriminals rely on user error or lack of knowledge to gain access to your company’s most essential data. Educating your team, providing ongoing support and updated training, can help to limit the abilities of these criminals. Many of the emails that are used for phishing and spear-phishing attacks are written so well that they can sometimes even fool the most experienced and educated users. At Synivate, we can provide you and your team with all of the training, tools, support, and services necessary to protect your network and your essential company data.

Contact our team of IT specialists to get your system prepared for all sorts of malware cyberattack threats and establish a viable backup and recovery program to get your business back online right away. The more you can do to reduce downtime and protect your essential data, the better it will be for your business. You won’t have to pay the ransom in a ransomware attack, and any data lost can be recovered quickly so you can get back to work. Call our team from anywhere in the Greater Boston area at 617-517-0704.