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The OAA is aware of at least two architectural practices in Ontario that have been victims of ransomware—malicious software which infects desktop computers, laptops, and mobile devices to deny access to files and other data unless a sum of money is paid to an anonymous hacker.
In many cases, the victims find their files encrypted and unreadable, replaced by an on-screen alert that they are being denied their information unless they send a sum of money (often in bitcoin) in order to have the perpetrator remotely restore access. (Last fall, the CBC covered the topic in its story, “Definite uptick': Global wave of ransomware attacks hitting Canadian organizations.”)
As always, the OAA encourages its members to exercise due diligence with their computer use and security measures. This includes not opening attachments or links in suspicious emails, installing only trusted software, regularly backing up data on separate, removable hard drives and using reputable security and antivirus software programs.
The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has more information on ransomware by clicking here.