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Sunday, Feb 25, 2024

Ransomware Protection

In November 2018, the U.S. Attorney’s office in New Jersey indicted two Iranian men for conspiracy to hack the computers of city and state governments and agencies, hospitals, schools and companies to extort money from them by stealing their data. One of the victims was Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, in Los Angeles, and others included the Colorado Department of Transportation and the cities of Atlanta and Newark, N.J. In the case of the hospital, the management paid $17,000 in Bitcoin to the hackers to retrieve its data that had been compromised by a bug known as ransomware. Ara Aslanian, chief executive and founder of Reevert, a cybersecurity firm in Glendale, said that local law enforcement and the FBI would prefer that victims of ransomware not pay anything at all. “In a hospital situation, they will pay the ransom to get all their data back,” Aslanian said. “Even in cases where clients do have a backup, sometimes they will pay the ransom just to make sure they get their files back and worry about recovery later.” For public schools and city governments, the question comes down to should they pay the ransom and try to get their files back or do they spend perhaps millions of dollars working with tech consultants to possibly retrieve the data, Aslanian continued. “All that comes down to not having a solid backup and disaster recovery and business continuity foundation,” he added. That is what Reevert can do for companies – provide the backup and recovery. Reevert is an offshoot of Inverselogic, another tech company that is a managed service provider that Aslanian had started where he is also chief executive. He began hearing from clients of Inverselogic about being hit by ransomware and having their files locked unless they paid. The firm launched its first product in 2016. “We saw that a lot of clients did not have a solid backup solution,” Aslanian said. “Part of that is that a lot of the smaller and mid-size businesses could not afford it.” Competitors at the time were charging from $15,000 to $30,000 to implement cybersecurity measures, he added. At Reevert, the cost for a virtual appliance ranges from $399 a year for a small business to $899 annually for large companies. Hardware appliances can cost as low as $299 a month up to $529 month, and which requires a 36-month commitment on the part of the client. The cost issue was one reason why he and others at Inverselogic decided to develop a cybersecurity product to help small businesses and school districts, some of which, he said, are struggling financially when it comes to budgeting on IT and especially data redundancy. “It is not something that is a priority,” Aslanian said. Among Reevert’s clients are Topa Insurance Co., a large insurance agency in Calabasas, the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, the Rose Bowl, defense contractors such as Rubbercraft, in Long Beach, school districts and hospitals. “Sometimes we don’t like to name some clients because then people who are targeting them know what kind of backup solution they are running,” Aslanian said.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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