How to protect your computer from a cyber security attack

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 5:12 PM CDT
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CARBONDALE, IL. (KFVS) - From our oil pipelines, to our beef supply, American industries are under attack, as cyber criminals take aim at the nation’s infrastructure.

A Southern Illinois University IT professor says now is the time to take precautions, no matter the size of your company.

“The big thing that we’re hearing about today is the ransomwares,” said Tom Imboden, Program Coordinator for Information Technology at SIU

But what is Ransomware? It is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid.

How does it really impact your computer data?

“In such a way that you can’t access it anymore. In order to get that data back and think things like your own personal photographs, your Financial information, your businesses HR databases, medical records, the pipeline controlling data maybe. Who knows,” said Imboden

On June 7, The Justice Department announced it recovered the majority of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment to hackers after a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline.

The FBI says a criminal group originating from Russia named “DarkSide” is responsible.

Imboden gives advice to those who are wanting to protect themselves from any type of cyber-attack.

“First thing I say for just general security advice is to just to look at everything that you’re presented with, with a very skeptical eye” said Imboden

He also gives this advice to protect companies.

“Training your user base to know to be skeptical. Giving them examples of what might happen. Showing them that they’re important. They may be the third shift clerk, but they are also potentially a way that a bad guy can lock up their whole company’s data through a ransom wear targeted attack,” said Imboden.

Imboden said there is another way companies can save themselves if a cyber attack does occur.

“Have a drive, locally, that you can back things up to and then disconnect it when’s it’s not being backed up,” said Imboden.

No matter the size of the company, Imboden says these attacks can happen to anybody

“Those range from, like the pipeline to mom and pop shops, to hospitals and other types of businesses all across the globe. It’s getting pretty scary,” said Imboden.

Southern Illinois University IT program is also training students to be cyber security professionals.

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