If you are like most people, you have probably been warned via email or even through news channels that your private information might have been exposed to hackers. But if you think it is just a problem with private companies, the news of how governmental and other public institutions might be leaving you vulnerable without your consent or awareness, might come as a shock. In the last month, cybersecurity came very close to home. Cartersville, Georgia had their electronic payments completely taken offline due to ransomware. The so-called “RobbinHood” ransomware hit Georgia hard in April and left hundreds of children and teachers’ personal information vulnerable. The situation begs the question, “Does the government protect your personal information against cybercrime?”.

The WannaCry Cryptographic Malware

Despite public warnings about the vulnerable nature of Microsoft Windows’ Server Message Block version 1 (SMB v. 1), which is a file sharing protocol, many organizations continue to ignore the potential threat. The outbreak of the WannaCry cryptographic malware just two years ago did nothing to make public institutions take notice. Or, to consider how they are leaving the public they serve open to harm. The same servers compromised are still around. And not just in Georgia but in an estimated hundreds, or even thousands of US schools around the nation. 

Why Governmental Agencies are Callous With Your Information

The problem is so widespread that there is really no way for you to know if your child’s information at school, or even yours through governmental agencies, is secure from a hacker’s attack. Even with the threat widely known throughout the public sector, little is being done to fix the patch systems. And they are leaving the door wide open. 

What is a Patch System?

A patch is something in the IT world that means a computer has changes made to its program, or supporting data, that is made to improve, fix, or update it. Patches also include fixing a computer’s security program to reduce vulnerabilities or to fix bugs. When you get a notice to update a program, that is a “patch”. Ransomware is a way that hackers get into your system using a specific vulnerability. So if you don’t have the patch to make your system secure, then you are leaving it open toransomware. And they can both infect your system and gain access. 

What Does That Mean for you and Your Family?

Ransomware can be stopped with the right tools. But so many governmental agencies and school districts operate with outdated systems and have limited IT or technical management teams. It isn’t that they don’t acknowledge the problem; it is likely that they don’t have anyone pushing them to address it. Or, even that they don’t have the on-staff resources necessary to take care of the vast number of vulnerabilities. 

Make Some Noise!

So what is the answer? Make some noise! You do have the right to challenge any agency that you supply sensitive information. It is imperative that you know what type of internet security they have in place. And if they don’t have any, it is your right to push for updates.

How Can Cross Link Consulting Help?

At Cross Link Consulting, our mission is to ensure that both your child’s information and your own, is safe from would-be attacks. Because we are concerned about your well-being, we offer organizations free evaluation of their systems. That is the only way toensure that everyone, and their information, remains private. If you are worried about how to protect your personal information against cybercrime, contact your school’s administrator. It is imperative that you voice your concerns! Also, extend our offer to help get your child’s school’s systems updated and secure today!