4 Investigates: Ransomware attacks on the rise in New Mexico – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico 2021-07-30 00:04:52 –

“There’s never been more attention to this … and it’s everywhere from consumers to large businesses,” said MK Palmore of cybersecurity firm Palo Alto Networks. He is also the former Federal Bureau of Investigation. Previously, he headed the FBI’s cybersecurity division in San Francisco.

Just five years ago, the average ransomware payment was about $ 500, according to a recent report by Palo Alto Networks. That number soared in 2021 to an average of $ 850,000 in ransom payments.

“And we’ve seen payments in excess of $ 10 million for large entities,” Palmore added.

As the ransomware threat continues to plague almost every sector of life, some of the most sensitive personal data about New Mexicans, from MVDs to tax and unemployment records, is on state government servers. It is stored in.

Raja Sambandam, New Mexico’s Chief Information Security Officer, leads a role that didn’t even exist until recently.

4 Investigator Nathan O’Neill: What makes this type of attack vulnerable to state government?

San Bandam: “It’s a very good question. Data is the name of the game. Especially sensitive data (data that can be monetized) is what the bad guys want.”

The state’s network is not a direct target for ransomware attacks, according to Sunbandam, but the state regularly scans the system for potential threats.

“It’s far beyond best practices to monitor,” says Sambandam.

Although San Bandam was unable to disclose details of security systems and protocols, he claims that New Mexico ranks in the top 10 percent of the state’s preventive practices.

“The security protection I’m working on is layered. There are multiple layers, and the institution itself has its own layer,” says Sambandam.

4 Investigator Nathan O’Neill: “Will the state entertain the idea of ​​paying a ransom?”

San Bandam: “In principle, I don’t think it’s the message I received. It’s very similar to what the federal government is doing. In principle, the federal government … doesn’t agree to pay the ransom. Please. “

However, finding the culprit behind a cyberattack can be problematic.

“It can be very difficult,” said Palmore of Palo Alto Networks. “I happen to be a retired federal law enforcement officer. When conducting these investigations, I know they are some of the most difficult types of investigations I can carry out.”

Palmore said one of the biggest hurdles is identifying who is responsible.

“Beyond that, without existing diplomatic relations with the country where most of these individuals are, it can be very difficult to actually get people involved in the judicial system,” Palmore said. ..

There are some things you can do personally to protect yourself and your employer … especially if you work from home. The easiest thing to do is to watch out for suspicious phishing emails and websites. Do not open unknown links or provide information to unknown sites. In addition, change your password frequently, make it harder to crack, and use two-factor authentication when possible.

You can find additional tips here..

4 Investigates: Ransomware attacks on the rise in New Mexico Source link 4 Investigates: Ransomware attacks on the rise in New Mexico

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