Spartanburg County in South Carolina has become the latest victim of a ransomware attack. On April 28, 2023, the county government reported that its computer network had been hit by a ransomware attack, likely carried out by Russian cybercriminals who operate ransomware as a service. While all essential services such as 911 and emergency communications are still operating, some online services and phone lines may be unavailable.
The county government has said that it is working with a third-party cybersecurity consultant and coordinating with law enforcement to recover the impacted system. The IT department will continue to recover the impacted system, and the county government is open to the public. If anyone has trouble calling a county department, they should use the phone numbers listed in the release.
Sadly, the Spartanburg County ransomware attack is not unique. Governments, schools K-12, and private businesses across the US have fallen victim to ransomware attacks. The problem is that many organizations are simply not prepared for cyber attacks, believing it will never happen to them. When they realize the need for action, they find that cybersecurity is not a quick fix.
For instance, the Tulsa school district is still reeling from a ransomware attack that occurred in late January. They now need millions of dollars to recover from the attack. The school district had a five-year plan to boost cybersecurity, but they now admit they need to accelerate the process. While it is good that they are taking cybersecurity seriously, they underestimated the risk, and their plans did not match the speed at which cybercriminals work.
The situation in Spartanburg County is likely to follow a similar pattern. Any organization, whether government or private business, needs to take cybersecurity seriously. Cybersecurity must become a priority at board meetings and in other decision-making forums. Companies must stop putting their head in the sand, believing that it won't happen to them.
Implementing cybersecurity is not a simple matter of buying a Password Manager and putting multifactor authentication on it, along with a firewall. Cybersecurity requires a multi-layered approach, and it takes time to implement it. The larger the organization, the longer it takes. It is essential to start the process as soon as possible. Neglecting cybersecurity is like neglecting your physical health; the longer you neglect it, the longer it takes to get back in shape.
If you haven't been impacted by a ransomware attack yet, don't wait until it's too late. Learn from videos like this one and heed the warnings. Take action and put a cyber resilience plan in place in your business. If you need help with cybersecurity, reach out to a cybersecurity company willing to help. But most importantly, take action today.
The Spartanburg County ransomware attack is a reminder of the importance of cybersecurity. We wish the best for Spartanburg County as they recover from the attack. However, we hope that other organizations learn from their experience and take action to protect themselves from ransomware attacks. It is time to start taking cybersecurity seriously.