After attacks elsewhere, tribal casinos warding off ransomware

WINNEBAGO -- The FBI is currently investigating cyberattacks on casinos in several states. Most recently, six tribal casinos were targeted in Oklahoma. Local experts say the best way to protect Nebraska organizations is preemptive defense.

"We get thousands of attempts on a daily basis," said Ho-Chunk, Inc. IT Director Jerry Beaver. Beaver's company is run by the Winnebago Tribe.

"Think of it as an alarm system, but you have to make sure the alarms are on," he said, explaining that you have to keep updating the cybersecurity software, running system checks, and updating it. "Hackers are always learning new tricks," he continued.

Ho-Chunk, Inc. does not have a set policy with how to respond to a ransomware attack, should one ever be successful. Rather, he prepares with backups, firewalls, VPN, and setting separate credentials for admin functions.

"Ransomware is just one type of malware," Mark Peters, with the U.S. Air Force Intelligence, noted. He told NCN organizations need to strike a balance between these protection methods and privacy. When it starts to cross the privacy line, we start to see concerning breaches of personal space, he said.

Peters said people can take steps to protect their own personal privacy with better passwords, even going so far as to invest in cyber insurance. Perhaps one of the most common mistakes when it comes to cybersecurity, is those pesky phishing emails.

"Verify those emails, don't click on their links," Beaver said. If he gets a link from what looks like a verified company, he'll do research into it, and go about any other method possible rather than clicking on a URL from an email.

Many companies will also be waiting for a congressional hearing on Thursday, with the possibility of new cybersecurity requirements from the Department of Defense. Ho-Chunk Inc. has said there is concern companies may not be able to meet those standards.