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Jacksonville companies on alert after latest string of cyber attacks

June 4, 2021 By News4Jax

Originally written for news4jax.com by Jim Piggott

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – More ransomware attacks on companies have been occurring across the country.

We’ve seen the impacts from an attack on the Colonial Pipeline and then on meat processing plants.

One of the latest attacks affected Cox Media radio and television stations, which caused some online disruption, according to multiple reports.

This follows a warning from the White House urging all companies to take steps and defend against ransomware attacks.

News4Jax talked with office workers downtown about cyber attacks.

Renata Donaldson said she and other employees have been warned to take precautions but she still is surprised to see what’s happening nationwide as companies are hit hard by cyber attacks.

“It’s kind of scary honestly because if you don’t really know what to expect. I don’t really know how to react,” Donaldson said.

At the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, staff told News4Jax they have had seminars in the past about ransomware attacks. The chamber has told businesses what they can do to avoid ransomware.

News4Jax also reached out to a number of businesses throughout Jacksonville asking them what steps they are taking. We spoke with financial institutions and various large companies. They all didn’t want to talk on the record, but they said they’re well aware of the problem. They are trying to take steps to protect themselves and their customers.

The White House is now telling businesses to take urgent security measures to protect against ransomware attacks.

Chris Freedman is the Founder of OnDefend a national cybersecurity company in Jacksonville. He says these latest attacks against our fuel lines, meat processing and TV and radio stations has the feds taking a harder look.

“They are going to take greater measures to protect what is our supply chain,” Freedman said.

In Jacksonville, we’ve not seen large ransomware attacks. Two smaller health care facilities were victims of a ransomware attack in October of last year.

Freedman says that could change at a moment’s notice no matter the size of the company and the target to get into the system. He said attacks usually start with regular employees.


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