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Can What Happened To The City of Wasaga Beach Happen To You?

In this contemporary era, most information is generated and stored on computer systems and servers including the Cloud. This type of storage offers so many advantages when compared to archaic methods once used. For instance, it’s faster, can be accessed from anywhere, offers almost unlimited storage capacity, and it takes up less space in your home or office.

30 years ago, businesses often had rooms full of paper files. Imagine having to look up the medical chart of someone named John Smith. You could spend all day on a task like that and never find the right person. But all that has changed. Now you can log into your Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM) and type in the name and birthdate and the file will come up within a few moments. A good CRM can store thousands of files, from patient medical charts to marketing profiles.

The Downside

Of course, there’s always a black cloud in the midst of all those blue ones. In this instance, the black cloud is cyber-crime. Cyber-attacks occur every day all over the world. Cyber thieves are not particular about whose database they steal. They will steal from large or small companies, hospitals, professional organizations, or just about anyone they choose. In fact, last year one of the largest breaches in history occurred when hackers infiltrated Equifax, one of the nation’s largest credit reporting agencies.

In the end, it was discovered that the credit information of 143 million Americans was stolen by cyber thieves. Now a year later, Equifax is still trying to clean up the mess. Their brand name and reputation in the marketplace has been severely damaged. It seems like the whole world would take cyber-crime more seriously after a data breach like that.

What Happened In Wasaga Beach?

And yet, just a few months ago, the town of Wasaga Beach, Ontario was hacked. Though the city government has been reluctant to disclose exactly what happened, there are a few facts available. First, we know that a ransomware virus was released into the government’s database. Ransomware is typically downloaded when an employee clicks on a malicious link. Though it should be common knowledge, many employees are still unaware of the dangers of clicking on bad links found in emails.

Hackers now know how to replicate an email from your bank, doctor, or credit card company and make it look completely authentic. The email often uses fear to get users to click. It might say something like:

“Your account has been frozen due to suspicious activity. Please click the link below to restore access.”

Nine times out of ten, the individual WILL click on the link and once that happens, the ransomware virus is downloaded into your system. This is most likely what happened at Wasaga Beach. Now, you’ll get an angry message across the screen that says:

“To restore access to your files, pay the sum of $17,000 in bitcoin to the following address.”

If I Pay The Ransom, Will All My Files Be Restored?

Thieves are not known for being honest people. Sometimes you regain access to all your files and sometimes you don’t. In the case of Wasaga Beach, authorities say that the town has paid its first of three ransoms to regain partial access to their files. If the code works and their data is restored, then they will pay two additional payments to the hackers to access information on two additional servers.

City officials say that, if all goes well, they should be able to regain access to 90-95 percent of their files. There’s no way to know exactly what type of information was stolen or whether it will wind up for sale on the Dark Web. Often, when these types of data breaches occur, that’s exactly what happens next. Thieves can get a lot more money by selling your data on the Dark Web than from ransom payments.

City of Wasaga Beach Building Secure Servers

The town does claim to have learned its lesson. They’re building a secure new server and working on creating an off-site backup system that offers stronger IT security measures.

It’s unbelievable but true! The town of Wasaga Beach did NOT have its data backed up properly. They had been very lax in this area, having never suffered a data breach before. But now, they face the most embarrassing thing a company or government agency can face: They were hacked and they were not ready for it. They were living in a dream world where bad things only happen to bad people.

Business Continuity

It’s very clear that the city government did not have a Disaster Recovery and Data Backup plan in place. In today’s world, where hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and hackers can take out your whole operation in a moment’s time, there’s every need for a solid Business Continuity plan.

At Pace Technical, we take that sort of thing seriously. We’ve seen too many incidents like the one at Wasaga Beach where an entire database was stolen by hackers from Eastern Europe. There’s really nothing you can do except pay the ransom and hope you get your files back.

Managed Backup Solutions

Oh, wait! There’s one more thing you can do. In fact, every business, organization, city government, medical practice, and a company of any kind should already be doing this. A managed backup solution ensures that your data is backed up both onsite and offsite on a regular basis. You’ll never be caught with egg on your face again!

An enterprise-based onsite backup solution should be implemented in addition to a secure cloud backup. All data is safely stored in our data center. We employ a technique known as virtualization. This process makes a mirror image of your entire IT system. Your business will always have a current database of all files and applications safely stored away for the next rainy day. When you have a cloud-based version of your Desktops, Servers, File Storage, and Applications in a secure Data Center, you can get back up and running within one day.

Why Risk Losing Your Data?

No more haggling with cybercriminals on the other side of the world. Our managed backup and disaster recovery solution works around the clock 24/7/365. It continuously monitors your system, watching for errors or problems that could quickly escalate. Often, issues are fixed in the background without your knowledge. Your database is safe and secure. You don’t have to hold a press conference and explain how you lost the records for every customer in your database.

With the cost of one data breach now reaching $3 million, there’s no room for error anymore. Don’t take chances with your data. Instead, contact Pace Technical and let us show you how to implement a Business Continuity plan that includes disaster recovery. You never know when a disaster can strike, but you can be prepared with our proactive business continuity solutions.

If you enjoyed this article, please check out these from our blog:

Ponemon Institute 2018 Cybersecurity Report 

URGENT! Google Chrome “HTTPS By Default D-Day” Is Today! (July 24, 2018)

A New Way That Password Stealing Malware Infects Your PC


The Essential Cybersecurity Toolkit for SMBs

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