BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Ransomware attacks have been making headlines left and right after major companies have been forced to halt operations to regain control of their networks from cybercriminals. Now, the experts are weighing in on how you can protect yourself or your business.

“No one is safe from this threat and its large scale,” said Anton Dahbura, a cybersecurity expert from Johns Hopkins University Institute for Assured Autonomy.

The JBS meat supplier hack and the Colonial Pipeline shut down had national ramifications and on the local level with Baltimore County Schools being hacked and delaying online instruction — ransomware attacks are happening all the time because Dahbura explains, its profitable for the bad guys.

“It can hit individuals,” he said. “You click on the link that says cute cats and that opens the doorway for someone to take over your computer.”

Dahbura said 80 percent of the time people or companies become victims because someone clicks an unsecured link. Other cases come down to not having a strong enough password.

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Cybercriminals have been so active that President Joe Biden’s National Security Council sent out a letter to thousands of companies across the US warning them to ramp up security.

The letter read in part, “we urge you to take ransomware crime seriously and ensure your corporate cyber defenses match the threat.”

“Anything people can do to raise awareness about this threat is really important,” Dahbura said.

He added investing resources into IT departments and training employees about cyber safety and how to make strong passwords is key.

Rachael Cardin