By: JJ Burton
TAMPA, Fla. — When it comes to cyber attacks, the main concern is critical infrastructure, like power plants, pipelines and water supply. But, cybersecurity experts say that’s not all you should be worried about.
“Today, more than ever, you should care about what you’re doing on your computer,” said Horacio Maysonet. “That’s because of COVID-19.”
Maysonet is the president and CEO of Cyber Security Solutions.
“We can go from one pandemic of COVID-19 to a virtual pandemic,” he said.
His company’s business has more than tripled since the start of the pandemic. One of the main reasons is people working from home on their work computers using their home wifi.
“Your wifi at home isn’t going to be as protected as your work’s,” he said. “The hackers are going into your system. When you bring that laptop [back to work] and plug [it in], they don’t have to beat the security system. They’re already in. Now they can just take the information.”
Most hackers, according to Maysonet, are going into the system, locking them and taking top security information. They’re then forcing companies to pay to unlock their systems and erase their stolen information. About “85% of these companies end up paying the ransom.”
“Last year, on average, companies paid out $237,000,” said Maysonet.
Two of those companies, according to him, were local financial institutions that Cyber Security Solutions is now working with. Maysonet also knows of a local law firm that went through the same situation and had to pay.
“It’s sad when your company’s files are stolen, and you have no choice but to pay the ransom,” he said.
How do you protect yourself and your company?
Maysonet said you need to make sure your systems are separated, especially if you are a retail store, restaurant, or business that deals with credit card payments. He said companies, especially mom and pops, should look into getting some form of cybersecurity protection. A big mistake some business owners make is focusing on IT, which is different from cybersecurity.
“You should look into companies like ours. We work with medium to small size businesses,” he said. “There are dozens of other companies like ours in the Tampa Bay area. Make sure when you call, you ask for cybersecurity or IT security, so you know that you’re getting security included with your service. Not just regular computer repair.”
The Biden administration is also giving funds to small municipalities to help purchase the resources needed to prevent cyber attacks, like the one in Oldsmar a few months ago.