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FBI educates businesses on how to avoid cyberattacks during Fourth of July weekend

Global cyberattack: What you need to know
Posted at 2:39 PM, Jul 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-01 18:37:14-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The FBI reports cyberattacks are on the rise and now the agency is educating businesses on what to look out for to avoid becoming a victim.

"We're just seeing it continue to be a profitable way for cyber criminals to victimize people and get money," said Charles Dayoub with the FBI.

Dayoub is the special agent in charge of the FBI's Kansas City Field Office. He said perpetrators sometimes come from large organized crime rings.

"They have a huge infrastructure with a top-down and how they focus on developing ransomware, deploying ransomware and victimizing people," Dayoub said. "They target the U.S. and European countries a lot because of the amount of companies, corporations and wealth that are in these countries, and so that is a huge issue for us."

On Tuesday, the FBI held a symposium for private businesses to recognize the signs of an attack and how to avoid it. One of the speakers came from a company hit by a ransomware attack.

"[I] Got some text from employees that the network had been compromised," said Ryan Johnson, director of IT with the Builders' Association. "When I got back to the office, I unplugged the internet and started the process of figuring out what had happened to us, where it came from?"

Johnson said the attack wasn't as severe as it could have been because of existing protections the company already had.

"By the time that we caught it, they didn't have enough time to really mine through and try to get that data at those other facilities," he said.

He recommends companies and individuals have several layers of protection.

"Make sure you have great backup. Make sure it's off-site. Even having multiple sources of backup and having software out there that looks for specific ransomware," Johnson said. "Not just anti-virus software, but looking for ransomware and when files start to get replicated that you have something that's in places that notifies you immediately that that's happening so it cannot spread through your building."

The FBI's cybersecurity training comes during the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and cybersecurity expert James Turgal said that's a time attackers plan for.

"The favorite is Easter weekend and on the Fourth of July," Turgal said. "They know that there are a ton of folks that are you know wanting to not be at the office and they are not necessarily available."

Turgal said the motivations of attackers can vary, but the goal remains the same.

"Data is everything, data is what they're after," Turgal said. "They're trying to either take it or ransom it or exfiltrate it or delete it."

Dayoub said it's important for companies to contact the FBI when problems come up so issues can be fixed.

"They have the information," he said. "They're seeing the threat hitting their networks, and by working together helping us do our investigative efforts, sharing intelligence with them, I think we're better off together mitigating it."