Around 2:00 am on Wednesday, June 5th, the Auburn Food Bank’s servers were attacked with ransomware. The computer virus seized all of the food bank’s computers, locking them out of their files and email. The attackers demanded a financial sum before they would release the computers, and files, back to the food bank.
Funding the Rebuild
Knowing the release was not a guarantee, Auburn Food Bank Director Debbie Christian opted to not pay the ransom. She didn’t even waste time finding out how much it was. This left the food bank with one computer acting as their server, and a blank slate to rebuild from.
The current estimates to replace the impacted equipment is $8,000. “We are going to need help paying for this,” said Christian. “Not to pay the ransom, but to pay for the expense of recreating our computer system. We don’t have this kind of money budgeted and we are at the end of our fiscal year and heading into summer when money is already tighter.”
Ransomware is not uncommon and has been in the news recently. The City of Baltimore is grappling with the potential of $18 million recovery costs from being hit with ransomware in May. City officials have refused a demand to pay the equivalent of $76,000 in bitcoin in response to the attack, which used a ransomware variant called RobbinHood.
Your Time is Just as Valuable
Those who wish to assist the food bank, but can not do so monetarily, can volunteer their time and skills. “If a person can type, we have tons of forms that need to be recreated, [in both] Word and Excel,” said Christian. “Jobs can be done at home and saved to a thumb drive and returned to us. ”
Volunteers can also work at the food bank, using one of their computers, Wednesdays from 9:30am to 2:00pm, or from 2:00pm to 4:00pm each evening. The physical labor of moving boxes will also be needed.
Those wishing to volunteer their time can call the Auburn Food Bank at (253) 833-8925 to make arrangements.
Why are they replacing the equipment? I have huge doubts that there is anything wrong with the hardware. It just needs to be cleaned and software needs to be reinstalled. Replacing the hardware is just a pointless expense.