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Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance Securities Division Issues Cybersecurity Alert to Investment Adviser Firms

 

Tennessee Department of Commerce and InsuranceNashville, TN – Amidst increasing reports of the prevalence of malicious ransomware infecting unsuspecting computer users throughout North America, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance’s (TDCI) Securities Division has issued an alert to raise awareness among investment adviser firms of this ever-growing cybersecurity threat.

Malware Alert

“I encourage investment advisers registered in Tennessee to remain vigilant regarding cybersecurity matters in general and to learn about the dangers of ransomware in particular,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner for Securities Frank Borger-Gilligan.

Ransomware is a specific type of malicious program or virus that strongly encrypts a victim’s computer, network, and/or files to the point that they are effectively rendered useless, according to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

In a ransomware attack, the victim typically receives a message demanding a ransom in exchange for restoring access to the affected systems. Paying ransom does not guarantee victims will regain access to their data. The FBI reports that in a number of instances, individuals who paid the ransom were never provided with decryption keys.

Cybersecurity experts have determined that more than over 50,000 corporate computers were victims of ransomware attacks in 2015. The FBI found that victims also have included hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, and law enforcement agencies.

“Anyone with a computer and Internet access could potentially become the next victim of a ransomware attack,” said Borger-Gilligan. “Awareness is the first step toward vigilance.”

The agency’s alert includes several suggestions to help state-registered investment adviser firms guard against a potential ransomware attack, including preparing an action plan, maintaining anti-virus and operating software, and backing up data regularly.

The alert is being distributed to all investment adviser firms registered in Tennessee and is available on the Tennessee Securities Division’s website at https://tn.gov/commerce/topic/securities-news-and-information

For more information, contact the Tennessee Securities Division at 800.863.9117.


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