MO AG Koster warns consumers about ransomware targeting medical - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

MO AG Koster warns consumers about ransomware targeting medical offices, financial firms

(Source: Raycom News Network) (Source: Raycom News Network)
JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KFVS) -

Attorney General Chris Koster is warning Missourians that several medical offices and small businesses in Missouri have reported being the victims of recent security attacks to their operating systems.

Recent national reports found these types of scams have increased steadily in 2016.

Through technology, hackers gain access to the systems of the office or business and then threaten to sell the company’s data and that of the company’s patients or customers. In some instances, the compromised systems are unable to be used until the ransom is paid.

“I encourage Missouri businesses and medical offices to take steps to protect themselves and their patients and customers,” Attorney General Koster said.

Such steps may include:

  • Back-up systems on a server that is not connected to the internet.
  • Keep updated antivirus software.
  • Keep all the software used up-to-date by applying patches.
  • Remember that many requests for information are phishing attempts; verify any requests for client lists or tax information with a personal telephone call before information is shared.
  • Enable the “Show file extensions” option in the Windows settings on your computer and avoid opening attachments with extensions like “exe,” “vbs,” and “scr,” unless those files are clearly being supplied from someone known to you, such as your virus protection provider.
  • Contact cybercrime law enforcement specialists immediately if a notice is received that ransomware has been installed.
  • If a rogue or unknown process appears on any computer, disconnect the machine from the internet to help prevent the spread of the malicious code.
  • Contact an information systems specialist to help regain control of the system.

Missouri law requires certain businesses whose systems are breached to notify their customers or clients of the breach. Consumers who receive such notices should:

  • Take advantage of credit monitoring offers. Credit monitoring is one helpful tool to detect whether someone’s person information is being used to attempt to obtain credit or services. 
  • Watch the notices of benefits paid from their insurance companies to detect any irregularities.

Additional information about the steps to take after receiving a breach notice is available here.

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