After the ransomware struck, the North Carolina pastor was forced to scramble for help to recover his lost data…
On July 5, 2016, Andy Wood, pastor from Potters Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Pink Hill, North Carolina, stated he lost over 30 years worth of data to a vicious ransomware attack. This included his sermons, personal credit card information, and potentially information regarding his work with the congregation. Pastor Wood reported his primary concern was keeping the privacy of his congregation.
The ransom demand was $700 USD. The pastor took his computer to the local police, as well as two repair shops and they were unable to help recover the data. However, according to WCTI News 12, Sherrie Howard of CDS Networks & Services was able to run programs that got rid of the virus and recovered the data on July 7th.
If you ever find yourself the victim of a ransomware attack, we recommend taking the following steps:
- Do not pay the ransom – If you do, you’re just giving the hackers a reason to keep hacking. Use your back up files to restore your systems. Again, don’t pay!!
- Inform the FBI – By informing the FBI they can investigate to potentially bring legal action against the hacker. All cyber criminal activity should be reported to the federal IC3 agency. You can file a complaint with them here.
- Notify your current security software company – You also MUST inform your security software company. If they didn’t know they missed a malicious attack, they cannot stop it in the future. Also, many anti-virus software companies share their blacklist, or the list of known bad files. So by sharing it with your software company, they then share it with others; saving thousands of people from falling victim to the same attack that just got you.
- Educate yourselves and your employees – Many times we attend one training, or listen to one webinar and consider ourselves educated on the matter. This cannot be further from the truth. Continued education on current cyber security threats is imperative. We recommend our friends at KnowBe4 for both personal and enterprise training on cyber security. As always, all PC Matic home security subscribers are offered a free cyber security training through KnowBe4 as well.
- Reevaluate your security software protection – If your security software failed you, perhaps you should look for an alternative security option. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) strongly advises using a whitelist security technology. For personal uses, PC Matic home protection offers superior protection with advanced whitelisting technology. For enterprise use, there is Tech Sentry, which offers advanced security protection with proprietary whitelisting technology.
You can find a full list of the public 2016 ransomware attacks here.
We have also generated an interactive map that includes all of the ransomware attacks within the United States that have occurred this year.