Illinois Plaintiff's Lawyer Personal Injury Blog- Legal News and Insights from Champaign Urbana Attorneys Koester & Bradley, LLP

Consumer Protection and Fraud: The Ongoing Cyber Threat of Ransomware

3/31/2018

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Ryan R Bradley

Illinois Consumer Protection and Fraud Attorney at Koester & Bradley, LLP


​For Illinois Consumers, Equifax dominates the headlines in cybersecurity, but Ransomware is a serious threat as well.


While large data breaches such at Target and  Equifax dominate the headlines, there are other equally frightening threats lurking on the internet that impact Illinois residents.  Illinois Consumer protection lawyers Koester & Bradley are still noticing a large jump in Ransomware attacks on individuals and businesses alike.  In fact, last week the city of Atlanta was attached and information necessary to run the entire city was held for ransom.  Are Illinois cities and consumers next?

Ransomware is a type of malware that locks your screen and prevents access to your computer and its files until you pay a ransom.  Ransomware is not just a problem for large companies and hospitals, it afflicts individual and small to medium sized business as well across Illinois. It has been around in different forms since the mid 2000s and attacks both businesses and individuals with the hackers committing the fraud demanding payment in largely untraceable bitcoin. According to cybersecurity experts Tom Barker and Chris Heuman of Virtual Auditor, unlike earlier ransomware that disabled your computer, recent forms of this malware encrypt your files, which makes their recovery far more difficult. If you don't pay the several hundred-dollar ransom by a certain date, your files will be destroyed.

Champaign Illinois Consumer Protection attorneys Koester & Bradley warn that while there's no guarantee against becoming a victim, there are several measures for Illinois consumers and businesses to take to make an attack less likely and less damaging:

Back Up Your Files
Make frequent file backups to lessen the impact of an attack.  We now know that for Illinois residents, and consumers across the country, it is more probable than not that you will be a victim of cyber crime.  Don't store these files anywhere that's reachable by your computer because the ransomware may find and encrypt them. If you're using an external device for your backups, keep it disconnected from your computer. If you're using cloud services for backup storage, make sure they retain previous versions of your files that you can roll back to in case your most recent files are encrypted.

Backup files make recovery easier because it's just a matter of reinstalling your backups after the malware is removed from your computer and represent the primary way to reduce the damage caused by an attack.

Be Careful With Emails

Avoid opening attachments and clicking on links within emails from unfamiliar sources. If the email content from a familiar source seems unusual, it could be ransomware that's exploiting a list of your contacts. When an email is suspicious but plausible, contact the source independently of the email and its attachments.

If you have any questions about an email, even if it is from a send that you do know, verify with the sender and do a Google search for scams that are similar to the email that you received.  

Keep Your Software Updated
Ransomware may exploit known weaknesses of various software. Software providers respond to recently discovered security weaknesses with new version updates that "patch up the hole." Update all software including your firewall and anti-virus.  Additionally, ensure that you computer operating system, usually either Windows of Mac OS, is kept up-to-date.  Moat time you can suet this for automatic updates.

If your computer gets infected, your safest bet is to erase the entire system and reinstall your operating system. After this, scan your computer with an anti-virus that can detect ransomware. Then you can load your files back into your computer from your backups. If your files and backups are infected, don't pay the ransom because you may not get your files back, or the ransomware may attack again. In addition, your money enables the criminal to continue his activities.

The above tips will reduce your risk of becoming a victim and will make recovery from such an attack less painful. If you were impacted by the Equifax breach, keep  these tips in mind to further protect yourself.  Finally, remember that the Illinois Consumer Protection Attorneys at Koester & Bradley are here to help should you become a victim of Cyber Attack. 

Recovering for Personal Injuries From Defective Products and Devices in Illinois

3/12/2018

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There are many Dangerous Products on the Market in Illinois.  Here are the Key Illinois Personal Injury Factors to Remember.

 Each time you shop and make purchases in Illinois and across the country, you are afforded certain rights and protections.  Many of these protections are the result of Illinois State or Federal Laws. If you purchase a product that was defective, dangerous, or improperly made, and caused you to sustain a personal injury, you have the right to file certain claims to receive the compensation and justice you deserve.  Our Illinois Personal Injury Lawyer team at Koester & Bradley will provide you with a brief overview of product liability claims and what you need to know as you go through the process.

Three General Types of Product LIability Claims in Illinois

There are three different types of product liability claims. The first is a pharmaceutical claim. This is when medication contains a harmful ingredient that could cause harm to your health.  Examples of these types of claims are the defective drugs Xarelto and Pradaxa which bad drug lawyers at Koester & Bradley are actively pursuing.

The second is the product manufacturing or design flaw claim. This could be a manufacturing or design flaw that causes injury. For example, a faulty cord on a blow dryer or faulty brakes on your car that caused your injury fall into this category.  Additionally the dangerous and recalled knees and hips produced by DePuy and Stryker are defectively designed and manufactured.  

The third is a marketing defect. This is when a company makes promises about their product that are untrue. This includes inadequate safety warnings, improper labeling or insufficient instructions. If the knowledge you have on how to use a product is incorrect and it causes your injury, the manufacturer or company could be at fault.  The State of Illinois regulates these types of claims as does the Federal Government and the regulations can be very complex.  This is why Koester & Bradley recommends hiring an experienced product liability lawyer locally to assist you.

You May be Entitled to Compensation for your Injuries in Illinois

If you feel that one of the above defects is enough to file a product liability claim, you can commence legal action. It's best to  contact us for more information and set up a consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your incident. There are many components that go into a product liability claim, so it's best to seek legal representation from those who are experienced in  personal injury lawsuits for your best chances of success.

Illinois Plaintiffs Lawyer Personal Injury Blog by Koester & Bradley, LLP 

Legal News and safety tips with Illinois Impact from the Accident and Personal Injury Firm Koester & Bradley, LLP

Authors

Ryan R Bradley is a personal injury and litigation lawyer based in Champaign County Illinois focused on representing injured clients and businesses navigate the maze of litigation to financial recovery.  


Tom Koester is a personal injury attorney based in Champaign County in Central Illinois focused on representing the injured and victims of Medical Malpractice and Personal Injuries.