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Ransomware expert breaks down how it works

Posted at 6:41 PM, Jun 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 12:15:53-04

TULSA, Okla — As the City of Tulsa deals with a ransomware attack, 2 News talked to experts to break down exactly how it works.

SEE MORE: Tulsa police reports posted on dark web after ransomware attack

Ransomware goes through a network and encrypts every system it can hit, and then it makes it unreadable.

"Then they try to get money out of you and then you have to pay them, and then they give you keys to unencrypt your data," said Brian Lowery with Jackson Technical.

Lowery said ransomware ramped up exponentially due to COVID-19 because of the increase in people who worked remotely. One of the things that drive it is that people are paying a ransom, and if hackers continue to get what they want, Lowery said they aren't going to stop.

"The best way to protect yourself is credit monitoring, lock your credit file if you are actively trying to get loans or anything, you can lock your credit file where people can inject it. You can put a fraud alert on your account, change your passwords on your financial institution logins, set up two-factor authentication anywhere that has it available to you, and that's the best thing you can do to protect yourself," he said.

One thing to note is that hackers will often invade systems through email or when a user downloads something.

"Email and file downloads are two of the main ways that ransomware gets in. You use the same password for everything and so all it takes is one password breach and they have the password for everything that you have," said Lowery.

Once that is done, they put personal information on the dark web.

"The dark web is just a portion of the internet that people use for malicious content," he said.

As far as recovering from a ransomware attack, Lowery said it just takes time.

"When you are recovering, it can take time. You are looking at every system that got infected with ransomware and you have to recover that from some type of backup."

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