• Charlotte business leaders learn about cybersecurity during workshop

    By: Gina Esposito


    On Tuesday, the National Cyber Security Alliance held a workshop for small- and medium-sized businesses at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

    Michael Kaiser, the executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance, said small- and medium-sized businesses can be a soft target for hackers because they're susceptible to ransomware and can be a way to access larger companies.

    "Larger businesses have become better defended over time,” Kaiser said. “They spend more money on cybersecurity."

    [RELATED: Mecklenburg Co. leaders say 17 services restored after hacking attack]

    Andy Rathke, general manager of H & S Roofing, said he attended the workshop to learn how he can better protect the company’s more than 100,000 customers’ personal information. He said a virus hit the business twice this year, and it had to pay around $3,000 to have cybersecurity experts resolve the problem.

    "We caught it relatively fast, and we sent out an email to our customers,” Rathke said. “You know, with small companies, we can’t afford to have somebody on staff to keep them educated. For us, it’s easier to outsource it and hope they take immediate action when we need them to."

    Rathke said he's even more concerned about cybersecurity after hackers breached Mecklenburg County’s servers last week.

    [READ: Ransom email from hacker to Mecklenburg County]

    Cybercriminals froze 48 county servers and demanded that local leaders pay in exchange for the files. Instead of conceding to the hacker's demands, county officials decided to rebuild those applications from scratch.

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