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“No widespread reports of malware hitting Richmond-area firms, but experts expect another attack”

Posted May 16, 2017

By CAROL HAZARD, Richmond Times-Dispatch

Richmond-area companies seemed to escape the massive ransomware attack that hit Friday and locked up more than 200,000 computers in more than 150 countries.

But that doesn’t mean it didn’t hit here.

“Our clients have not been affected by the WannaCry malware; we have not heard anything yet,” said Chris Moschella, a risk management and cybersecurity specialist with Henrico County-based Keiter, one of the largest accounting firms in the Richmond area.

The ransomware — a malicious software that covertly and illegally encrypts files — does not have a history of hitting a lot of American companies aside from FedEx and a few others, but that does not mean it will not return in a new form, Moschella said.

Moschella said he expects another round of attacks. “The shutdown trigger, which was accidentally activated by a U.K. security researcher, could easily be altered by the attackers to prevent anyone but the attackers from shutting it down in the future.”

The easy fix makes another attack likely, he said. “The good news is (the attack) was big news. Hopefully, that shocked enough people into updating their systems and patching any security flaws.”

If most companies fix the flaws, the next attack could be less significant. “However, if there is no shutdown trigger for round two, it may still infect many thousands of computers,” Moschella said.

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