‘Ransomware’ Attack Hits Law Enforcement Agencies in Maine: Law Offices of Joe Bornstein Comments on Recent Report

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Maine attorney Joe Bornstein of the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein offers tips for people to protect their computers from the latest viruses.

A seemingly innocent click can result in data being held hostage by a criminal who can be extremely hard to track down and prosecute, as the recent case involving Maine law enforcement illustrates.

Maine law enforcement agencies recently agreed to pay a $300 ransom to gain access to their own records in a case that the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein says underscores the fact that just about anyone can be a victim of computer hacking.

Computers at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office and the Houlton Police Department were infected with what is known as “ransomware,” according to an April 13 report in Tech Times, which published a story detailing what happened to the agencies in Maine (“Police Departments in Maine Fall Prey to Ransomware Hackers”).

According to the story, this is a type of malware hackers use to restrict the computer owner’s access. To gain access to an infected computer system, a victim typically is asked to pay a ransom. A growing number of law enforcement agencies in the United States are falling victim to this type of cybercrime, according to Tech Times.

Attorney Joe Bornstein today said the public should be aware of these latest threats and take appropriate precautions.

“Without question, the notion of “ransomware” is an alarming development in cybercrime, and to discover that even law enforcement agencies can be victimized is troubling,” Bornstein said. “We encourage everyone to be cautious online. A seemingly innocent click can result in data being held hostage by a criminal who can be extremely hard to track down and prosecute, as the recent case involving Maine law enforcement illustrates.”

Bornstein recommended the following tips to avoid malware or ransomware from infecting a computer:

  •     Use antivirus software and anti-spyware and keep these programs up-to-date.
  •     Schedule a scan using the antivirus or antimalware at least once a month.
  •     Make sure your operating system is up-to-date.
  •     Don’t open attachments with emails from unknown sources or sources that appear to be suspicious.
  •     Be careful about clicking on links that appear to be suspicious.

According to Tech Times, in the recent case involving law enforcement, a virus caused data of four towns and Lincoln County to be locked up. Essentially, the data was held “hostage” by the hackers after a person downloaded a virus, according to the article. This “megacode” virus placed an encryption code on all the data kept by the police. After making several attempts to access the data, the law enforcement officials decided to pay the $300 ransom, Tech Times reported.

While the payment was tracked by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the FBI was not able to identify the hackers, according to Tech Times.

The article reported that the payment was transferred to a Swiss bank account using bitcoins. According to Tech Times, it is believed the hackers were from Russia and typically demand ransom in bitcoins, which are a type of digital currency that allows users to conduct transactions online without a third party broker such as bank or government.

About the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein
Since 1974, attorney Joe Bornstein and his experienced legal team have represented over 23,000 Mainers and have given these clients much-needed access to justice in their injury and disability claims. The law firm has a statewide practice with six conveniently located offices in Maine. Joe and his staff of over 65 legal professional have met with Mainers in hospital rooms and living rooms – and, other locations convenient to the clients – throughout the state of Maine. Joe’s law firm has collected over $300 million in settlements and benefits for injured and disabled clients.

The attorneys work on all types of personal injury claims, including auto accidents, construction site accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, dog bite injuries, premises liability claims, product liability claims, and the like. The firm also has a team of lawyers and legal professionals who represent clients in their Social Security Disability claims. The firm can also give assistance in veterans disability claims, maritime and admiralty claims/injuries at sea, medical malpractice claims and workers’ compensation claims. Bornstein and his staff have a well-deserved reputation as one of Maine’s best-known and successful law firms. For a free case evaluation, call 1-800-CALL-JOE (1-800-225-5563) today or visit http://www.joebornstein.com.

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Jacob M Del Hagen
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