Ransomware will attack a business every 14 seconds this year, according to Christine Campbell and Scott Schulze, director of operations for Fusion Technology Solutions.

In an effort to help combat cyber security attacks among small businesses, Fusion will be hosting a pizza and cyber security event and workshop from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24 at Franchetti’s in Santa Rosa.

“Many people think that because they have an antivirus program and a firewall, they will be OK. But hackers are getting smarter and using more sophisticated tools all the time. Those aren’t just enough anymore and we want to make sure people know there are more sophisticated solutions,” Schulze and Campbell wrote in a statement.

As for the pizza aspect of the event, Campbell said good security is like a pizza — there are many different layers of security to use to build up a good protection against probing attacks.

One of the more dangerous and sophisticated attacks is a ransomware attack, a sort of technological kidnapping where hackers send an email from what looks like a trusted source with a URL that when clicked, activates the virus.

The virus then spreads on a computer or across a network, gathering data such as emails, passwords or network and server logins. But what sets ransomware apart from other viruses is that when it’s in effect, it locks down a computer and encrypts its files.

Then the only way to unlock the computer is to pay for an encryption key, “Typically three Bitcoin, about $24,000, for one computer and 13 Bitcoin, $105,000, for a network,” according to Schulze and Campbell.

Some attacks also work to gather personal information, which then can be sold on the Dark web, a part of the Internet that is not accessible to the general public where hackers sell stolen data to criminals.

For instance, “Let’s say you have a credit card that’s been compromised, like mine has recently, you’ll see that somebody is actively trying to use it. Well a lot of times that is actually bought from some place on the Dark Web,” Schulze explained. 

Criminals then can use the information to assume an identity, get a line of credit, or make purchases.

Schulze said a similar stolen identity case happened when someone tried to cover as a business and purchase $18,000 worth of laptops from Fusion.

He said even though small town businesses may hear of big company breaches, such as with Target and Marriott customer credit card information, many don’t realize that a similar breach could happen to their company.

“What we are finding is there are a lot of people around Healdsburg and probably the North Bay as well that just don’t seem to realize that things are happening here locally that they need to be aware of, so there seems to be a lack of education on the small business side,” Schulze 

He said the aim of the workshop is to fill in that gap of education so businesses know what to look for and are secure.

The tech duo also said the event is about helping people understand how serious the situation of a cyber attack can be. 

“58% of small businesses don’t survive a ransom ware attack, we don’t want our friends in the community to go out of business,” Campbell and Schulze said.

During the seminar attendees will learn about why the dark web poses a threat and what steps they can take to better secure themselves against threats.

“It really starts off with awareness from the user/employee/owner level and from there you work into protecting what’s coming into the system, whether it be a computer or a network and then being able to identify what some of that traffic is, whether it is anomalous or not. There is also a threat management component,” Schulze said of the topics that will be covered at the event.

The event is free and small business owners, general managers, office managers and financial officers or those who deal with customer personal data are welcome to attend the event.


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