May 17 2019

WASHINGTON, DC - A costly ransomware on Urban One earlier this year proved that radio stations, like many other businesses, can be targets of ransomware attacks. Such targeted attacks disable certain computer files or systems until the victim pays a ransom to the hacker. In the Urban One ransomware incident, the business did not pay the ransom, but the incident still cost Urban One $500,000 in lost revenue and repair costs.

Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Alysa Austin writes about ransomware attacks and how companies can best prepare in a new Radio Ink article.

“The stakes are high in ransomware attacks. Balancing the value of losing ransomed data or network systems against the costs of paying the ransom demand is no easy undertaking. Unfortunately, this is not much of a choice for organizations that either have not backed up their critical data or lost their backup data to the same malware,” Austin writes.

However, she said simply paying the ransom is no guarantee that the hackers actually will deliver on their promises, and may make the victim more likely to be targeted future attacks.

Austin suggests the following steps to help mitigate the damage from potential ransomware attacks:
  • Use antivirus software and internal firewalls.
  • Keep software updated and patch known technology vulnerabilities.
  • Create disconnected backups of critical business data.
  • Segment networks to quarantine infected devices and prevent the spread of malware.
  • Limit administration access to avoid risk of compromise.
  • Develop an incident response plan.
  • Educate employees to identify suspicious emails, avoid opening links or attachments from unfamiliar sources, and report incidents immediately.

“Businesses of all sizes and across industries, local governments, and individuals have all fallen victim to ransomware attacks,” Austin writes “Mitigation must therefore be the primary focus of any organization’s response to ransomware threats.”

Click here to read “Ransomware: Should You Be Worried?” in Radio Ink.

Alysa Austin focuses her practice on complex commercial litigation, contract disputes, business fraud, financial services litigation, government contacts, cybersecurity, and privacy. Prior to joining the firm, Austin earned her LL.M. in Cyber and National Security Law.