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Eau Claire County taking steps to prevent ransomware cyber attacks

EC Cyber Security

Eau Claire (WQOW) - Two eastern Wisconsin cities are still recovering after getting hit with ransomware, and Eau Claire County officials are taking steps to prevent a similar cyber attack.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software designed to block access to a computer system until a sum of money is paid. It often enters the system through phishing emails, which contain a shady attachment or link.

The cities of Racine and Oshkosh were each hit last month, shutting down internal computer systems. Still today, not everything has been recovered.

But Information Systems Director Dave Hayden says Eau Claire County is being proactive. To help prevent hacking, the information systems department trains all the county staff to recognize suspicious emails that may contain malware.

"Misspellings, words that don't make sense. Translation sometimes comes through inaccurately and raises red flags," said Hayden.

Hayden adds that if there was a ransomware attack, not everything would be lost because they back up all their files on a nightly basis, which gives them a recovery point.

The website called CyberSeek reports there are nearly 5,000 cybersecurity jobs open in Wisconsin. Hayden believes the reason is because it takes time to develop expertise in this field, and not a lot of Wisconsinites have that kind of experience.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim joined the News 18 team in August 2019 as a multimedia journalist. She was born and raised in Jersey City, New Jersey but has lived in all time zones of the contiguous U.S.A.

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