Northeast Ohio top industries, workers not immune to cyber attacks

Updated: Jun. 7, 2021 at 6:53 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ferries, subways, meat plants and oil and gas pipelines across the country have all been recent victims of ransomware attacks.

Every 10 seconds worldwide, cyber attackers hit a company for ransom.

Northeast Ohio could be vulnerable too, based on our top industries, including agriculture, steel, motor vehicle assembly, manufacturing and health care.

Our state is the 7th largest economy in the United States.

Cyber attacks hurt more than businesses.

They can also hurt our workers who keep everything running smoothly.

19 Investigates discovered there’s been a huge increase in ransomware attacks across the country, halfway through 2021.

They’re up 102% compared to last year at that time, according to this cyber security report from Check Point Software.

A year ago, nearly three-quarters of businesses reported an increase in attacks and almost all of them said remote access for employees during the pandemic led to more it security challenges, according to the report.

19 Investigates spoke with cybersecurity specialist Sharee Dorsey.

“One, you’re not only losing your business—you’re not making money that day. You still need to pay your workers, your workers don’t know, will I get paid for the rest of the week in a shut down? Or maybe are they shutting down for several months? They don’t know this. There’s so many unknowns, and leaders need to move very quickly on making these decisions not only for the company but for these workers who have to support their families,” she said.

Dorsey is part of the new Center for Intelligence and Security Studies at Notre Dame College in South Euclid.

She said workers in factories and plants here in northeast Ohio depend on the supply chain operating smoothly to get their job done.

And that is another big reason for companies to take cybersecurity seriously.

“There’s lots of people that depend on their income, and if they’re not here, it’s a problem for our entire community,” Dorsey said. Cyber attacks can have a trickle-down effect, hurting other businesses too.

The U.S. Department of Justice called 2020 the “worst year ever” for ransomware attacks.

DOJ officials said they’ll investigate these cases like they handle threats of terrorism.

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