ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) Keeping personal information private can be a challenge now a days, even for businesses.
One non-profit in Ellsworth learned the hard way after they were attacked with ransomware last week.
"I think people need to realize that this is a growing thing."
It's a call no one wants get...one that says you've been attacked by ransomware.
But, that's the exact phone call that Anthony Zambrano of Downeast Horizons received last week after learning their servers went down thanks to someone clicking on an incoming e-mail that locked their system.
"What they did basically is they didn't get to our data, but what they did was put a lock on our lock so we couldn't get to it either."
The non-profit immediately called in their IT department to access the situation.
No personal information was compromised because of the attack, but it certainly was a wake up call.
"We're very fortunate that our data was offsite. It was backed up. It was encrypted, but had we not had that, we had two choices: pay the money or never get the data again."
The IT department sent an e-mail to the address given to respond to the ransomware asking them to unlock the data.
Their answer? Send us $4,000 in bitcoin.
But, since they had a server backup at their other locations, they didn't have to pay the ransom.
"The "bad guys" have a reputation of being honorable and unlocking the information when you pay. They don't want your data. These folks aren't going after the information. They could care less. Plus, it takes a lot of time to pull that stuff across the internet. They just want the money."
While the company did not have to pay the "bad guys," when it's all said and done it will cost the company plenty of time and money.
Downeast Horizons wants folks to know that this could happen to anyone, at home or at work.
So, be careful what you click on and...
"Back up your data. Back up your data offsite and make sure it's encrypted back ups. That's what saved us."