Sheriff’s Office warns businesses to protect data

SIDNEY — The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office warns local businesses to beware of potential data hacks and to take steps to protect data.

“This past week I was notified by a local business that they had been hacked and all of their computer data had been encrypted, and they were being held hostage unless the company paid a ransom to retrieve their data back,” said Shelby County Sheriff Jim Frye in a press release. “This was a direct intrusion into their server through their firewall and was not a result of an employee opening an email with a virus.

“I made contact with a federal agency, which is currently monitoring and assisting the company during the process of attempting to get their data back. We were advised that there are several hot beds for this type of activity, Miami, Florida topping the list, with the Interstate 75 corridor from Cincinnati to north of Dayton, being second and likely to become number one for this type of activity.”

These targeted attacks are very sophisticated and likely came from an outside source through a VPN, which are very hard to protect against, Frye said. With COVID-19, more and more employees are working from home and make it easier for hackers to gain entry.

“Our advice would be for companies to make sure they back up their data, store the back-ups off site and ensure they can restore their data from a backup in case they have been targeted,” he said.

Anyone who has or becomes a victim of this nature, please contact your local law enforcement agency or the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 937-498-1111.