NEW ORLEANS — The FBI New Orleans Field Office has launched a cybersecurity awareness campaign to educate private sector businesses and organizations in Louisiana about the growing threat of cyberattacks. The campaign will run through September 2022 and will include media engagements, a social media campaign, and presentations to local industry groups. Louisiana is home to the oil and gas industry, numerous small businesses, and world-renowned universities and colleges, making the state a target-rich environment for cybercriminals and nation-state actors. FBI New Orleans encourages organizations of all sizes to partner with us before a cyber incident occurs.
“FBI New Orleans’ Cyber Task Force remains committed to investigating and combating any malicious cyber activity targeting private sector and academic institutions across the State of Louisiana. In addition to agents, analysts, and computer scientists who track and counter emerging cyber threats, we work closely with law enforcement and cybersecurity agencies throughout the state. “We strive to protect our residents and we need your help working together to strengthen our country’s cyber defenses,” said Douglas A. Williams, Jr., special agent in charge, FBI New Orleans.
Current Cyber Threats
- Critical Infrastructure Attacks: The private sector controls most of the country’s critical infrastructure, intellectual property, and personal data, making large businesses and small corporations targets of cyber-attacks. While nation-state threats remain the most significant threat to critical infrastructure because of their persistence, sophistication, and potential for destructive intent, ransomware attacks by cyber criminals have already targeted U.S. critical infrastructure, including emergency services, hospitals, and the energy sector.
- Ransomware: Ransomware is a type of malicious software that cyber criminals and nation-state actors often deploy after they have hacked into a victim’s computer to encrypt their data. These bad actors then demand payment of a ransom to unlock the encrypted data. The FBI has observed ransomware attacks become more targeted and has seen the ransoms increase significantly in recent years. When a ransomware incident occurs, swift communication with the FBI could positively impact data recovery efforts. Through victim engagement, the FBI develops a greater understanding of the different variants and ransomware groups to help prevent future attacks.
- Supply Chain Attacks: A business’ cybersecurity is only as strong as that of its trusted vendors. The FBI warns companies to know that supply chains are increasingly a point of vulnerability for computer intrusions.
If you or your organization is the victim of a network intrusion, data breach, or ransomware attack, contact FBI New Orleans at 504-816-3000 or report it at https://tips.fbi.gov/
In addition to partnering with FBI New Orleans, the most vital step a company or organization can take to protect itself is to implement good cyber-hygiene practices.
- Update and patch operating systems and software.
- Implement robust access controls, especially for privileged users.
- Monitor security logs.
- Audit trusted third parties or others with access to systems and sensitive data.
- Require personnel to choose a strong, unique password for each account and use multifactor authentication for as many services as possible. Passwords should be changed regularly.
- Educate personnel about phishing schemes to highlight the risks of clicking on suspicious links, opening suspicious attachments, and visiting suspicious websites.
- Keep offline backups of data, and regularly test backup and restoration capabilities. Ensure all backup data is encrypted and immutable.
- Develop a cybersecurity incident response plan that includes the FBI. If compromised, contact the FBI immediately.
- If you believe someone has compromised your systems, beware of signs of compromises such as broken passwords, myriad pop-ups, slow-running devices, altered system settings, or unexplained online activity.
Remember, while a cyber breach may be new to you—it is not new to the FBI—and we want to work with you to mitigate the threat. Working together as partners, we can protect your company and our nation’s critical infrastructure.