Triangle businesses prepare for possible ransomware attack

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Law enforcement officials said more companies in the U.S. may have been affected by the global ransomware cyberattack but haven't yet come forward to report it. (WTVD)

Law enforcement officials said more companies in the U.S. may have been affected by the global ransomware cyberattack but haven't yet come forward to report it.

There are no new large-scale outbreaks, but experts are warning people that a new version of the virus could emerge.

READ MORE: AT LEAST 100,000 GROUPS IN 150 COUNTRIES HIT BY RANSOMWARE IN CYBERATTACK

Experts are urging PC users to update their operating systems.

Harnett County resident Don Sloan admits that he updates his system "most of the time, not every time."

That lapse between updates is all hackers need to infiltrate your computer and wreak havoc.

READ MORE: HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM RANSOMWARE ATTACKS

The ransomware attacks this weekend have debilitated roughly 300,000 machines in over 150 countries.

"It is scary because most of our stuff is electronic," said Raleigh mom Katheryn Jagoda.

ABC11 reached out to several businesses and municipalities to see what they're doing to protect information.

"The city government has not been affected," City of Durham spokesperson Beverly Thompson. "Prevention and preparation is the key, not that it won't ever happen. We constantly backup City data, as well as inform City users on what to look for in a potential cyberattack."

"We have multiple layers of security protecting data at RDU," said airport spokesperson Andrew Sawyer.

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RDU officials said it would not discuss individual threats.

WakeMed Hospital is also taking action.

"Our IS team is on top of the situation and has implemented the appropriate patches," said hospital spokesperson Debbie Laughery. "We are very proactive with our employees in making them aware of phishing attempts."

"We call it 'Think before you click,'" said Xchange Technology Group CEO Alan Rupp. "It's just making sure you understand what you're clicking on before you actually click on that link."

Xchange Technology Group CEO Alan Rupp's employees are fielding calls and emails every hour about ransomware.

"If it gets on the server, it can propagate across the entire system," explained Rupp.

In the last several months, the team has worked on hundreds of computers infected with ransomware and some people stand to lose everything.

"It's incredible actually because you look at your files where all your data used to be and you see the names of what you used to have there, but you can't click on them anymore and they're gone," said Rupp.

Ransomware is software that freezes up a machine and flashes a message demanding payment to release the user's data. In the U.S., FedEx reported that its Windows computers were "experiencing interference" from malware, but wouldn't say if it had been hit by ransomware.

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