A major ransomware attack targeted around 37 businesses and governmental agencies in Rolla, St. Robert., Waynesville, Richland, and the surrounding region on or shortly after June 26th, 2019. A legitimate remote access software installed to provide technical support was compromised by hackers and many users of the service were impacted. Data has been encrypted and held at ransom by a criminal organization, likely overseas. Notices informing the user how to pay the ransom and decrypt their data were placed throughout the impacted computers. This has disabled almost all access to local information on PCs and servers as well as many applications.
Data will not be recoverable unless it was properly backed up before this attack or the computer users pay a $5000 ransom to the hackers. I am unaware if anyone has attempted to pay these hackers and been successful in recovering their data. Historically there is only about a 50% success rate of recovering your data once the ransom is paid so paying the ransom offers no guarantee of data recovery. The other issue with paying is that you are supporting and encouraging criminal organizations to conduct further attacks of this type by actually paying them. If you were impacted and any computers were turned off during the attack, DO NOT not turn them back on until they are properly serviced as their data can be recovered although they are still vulnerable.
There is also a concern that customer data of the impacted businesses may have been compromised by the hackers. This includes personal and financial information which is a concern since dentists, chiropractors, and CPAs were among the businesses impacted by this attack.
According to recent studies, scams and fraud cost the world economy over 4 trillion dollars a year. Around 7% of global GDP is lost to fraud each year.
I have never provided services to my clients using the remote access software compromised by this attack or used techniques that might render systems vulnerable to similar types of attack. Information security is a constant concern with countless smaller attacks and scams coming in on a daily basis. If your organization was impacted or you have any questions, feel free to contact A1 Tech at 573-458-9175.
More information about ransomware is available here: https://www.us-cert.gov/Ransomware
Conor Watkins, owner of A1 Tech of Rolla, LLC, lives on a 48 acre farm near Rolla and raises goats. He and his girlfriend enjoy the outdoors so they are frequently hiking Missouri parks and forests, kayaking, participating in shooting sports, as well as enjoying local wineries. He is pictured here kayaking at the mouth of Cave Spring along the Current River in the Ozarks of Missouri.