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Ransomware attack: Should you pay the money?

March 21, 2018 07:45 AM

Officials at Finger Lakes Health are still using paper documents Wednesday morning after so-called cyber pirates hacked into their computer system. News10NBC called Finger Lakes Health officials overnight, who were unable to give us an update of where they stand in this attack.

What we do know is that cyber pirates are asking for money to unlock the system. It's called a ransomware. So what does all of this mean, and what should you do if it happens to you?

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Ransomware is a type of malicious computer virus that locks out a computer system and encrypts it. The hacker demands payment to unlock it. Usually the hackers want the money through bitcoin or a virtual currency. Ransomware can be spread through email attachments, infected software, or infected storage devices.

Statistics show a company is hit with ransomware every 40 seconds. So what should you do if this happens to you or your business?

Cyber security expert Reg Harnish says you should not pay the ransom.

"Ransomware, very specifically, tends not to affect or steal patient data or information," cyber security expert Reg Harnish says. "Once it's a confirmed ransomware case, in most of those instances, there is no exfiltration of data."

One in five small businesses end up paying that ransom and never even get their data back. 

Finger Lakes Health officials say they are working with law enforcement to find the source of the attack, and to get their system back online. Right now, officials say there is no indication patient or employee information has been compromised.

Stay with News10NBC on-air and online for more on this developing story.

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