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Hackers target food bank, city with 'ransomware'

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CAPITAL REGION (WRGB) -- A fairly new type of hack attack has the area's largest food bank and a city government on the defensive.

This week, computer systems at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York -- and the City of Troy -- fell victims to hackers using something called "ransomware."

That's where hackers lock or encrypt your files and then hold them hostage until you pay up.

"[Tuesday morning,] someone from outside correctly guessed a username and password to log in to our terminal server, and with that username and password, they were able to encrypt or lock every single file that particular user had access to," explained Mark Anspacher, the food bank’s Finance/IT Coordinator.

The City of Troy detected a similar virus on a server in its accounting department Monday.

While leaders tell CBS 6 hackers didn't access sensitive information, the attack did delay tax payments -- for a day.

"Fortunately, we do backups on a daily basis. So we lost a few hours of input, but we were able to contain it. Clean the system, re-enter the data of the day, and we were good to go again,” explained Mayor Patrick Madden.

In both local cases, criminals never got to the point of asking for ransom money. IT workers cleaned the servers and replaced the files.

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