Ransomware, Cyber Attacks on Rise in Cape May County

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Cape May Court House, N.J. — Cape May County Prosecutor Robert L. Taylor would like to make the public aware of an increase in Ransomware, cyber attacks, particularly against government organizations.

Several organizations in Cape May County have been the recent target of Ransomware attacks.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that infects a computer and restricts users’ access to it until payment or "ransom" is made to unlock it. 

In a Ransomware attack, users will open an email and click on an attachment that appears legitimate, but it actually contains Ransomware. The e-mail might contain an authentic looking link, but when a user opens it, they are directed to a different site that infects their computer or device. One such malicious link discovered by the Prosecutor's Office is a fraudulent UPS link that launches Ransomware. This fraudulent link is normally one digit or character off from a legitimate UPS link. 

Once the malicious code is present, it begins encrypting the files on that computer, attached devices, or any other computers on the same network. Users may not know that they have been infected until they can no longer access their information. Then, they will receive messages demanding a ransom payment in exchange for a decryption key. 

Individual users are often the first line of defense against Ransomware and Prosecutor Taylor encourages Cape May County residents to update their computers and enact cyber security practices.

These practices include: 
        -> Update your systems to include all of the latest patches. 
        ->  Do not open unknown links or files in emails. 
        ->  Back up your data to prevent possible loss of your information. 
        ->  Keep antivirus software active and up to date. 
        ->  If you are a business owner, make sure employees are aware of Ransomware and of their roles in protecting the organization’s data. 

Detectives from the Prosecutor's Office are actively investigating cases of Ransomware and will work with State and Federal cyber security professionals in order to share information on these attacks.

Prosecutor Taylor urges any individuals or organizations that have information regarding Ransomware attacks to report the information to the Cape May County Prosecutor's Office at 609-465-1135 or anonymously through the Cape May County Sheriff’s Tip Line at cmcsheriff.net and click on anonymous tip or the Cape May County Crime Stoppers at 609-465- 2800. 

Watch: Cybersecurity Tips for Your Business 

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