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Greeks Working from Home During Pandemic Face Ransomware Attacks

Αssociated Press

(AP Photo/Altaf Qadri, File)

ATHENS - With many workers in Greece during two COVID-19 lockdowns doing their jobs from home, there’s been a number of ransomware attacks against those who are duped while using their computers or don’t have security programs.

Ransomware is a form of malware in which infected computers are remotely locked by cyber-criminals until an extortion fee is paid, often in the form of cryptocurrency, the computers useless although the phenomenon has seen many people begin using backup programs such as Backblaze or Carbonite.

Experts at Northwind, an Athens-based data recovery company, told Kathimerini that they have had to deal with 11 cases of ransomware attacks in the last couple of weeks with home computers vulnerable, especially if not using Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) such as Proton, Nord, Avira, Avast and others.

Those hit weren’t always high-level targets but included an accountant and a lawyer based in Athens, a Piraeus university professor, a photographer in Hania on Crete and a furniture company in Thessaloniki, the paper said.

Authorities advise victims not to pay the ransom, as there is no guarantee that the data will be unlocked in return although the computers are then essentially useless and no way to retrieve information unless backed up on other devices, such as in the cloud or external hard drives.

“Cyber-attacks have recently increased mainly due to the changes brought about by COVID and the fact that more people are working from home than from the office now,” Yannis Gikas, Regional Manager of Check Point Software Technologies told the paper about the problem.

“The new forms of cyber-attack aim to exploit the lack of efficient cyber-security policy and tools,” he said.

But even the Hellenic Defense Systems was a victim of a ransomware raid on its computer networks, as revealed by the paper, and government agencies had previously been breached by hacks, some said operating from Turkey.