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ransomware hits Halloween candy maker
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Can’t find your favorite candies to hand out on Halloween? Blame ransomware

Cybercriminals employ all sorts of strategies to ply their crooked trade. Ransomware attacks are just what they sound like. An attacker gains access to your files through your computer or network and locks them down. They demand payment — the ransom — in exchange for releasing your files.

Your No. 1 defense against ransomware is keeping a recent backup of all your files. When you have that, their threats are moot. Tap or click for smart tips and tricks to protect yourself from online attacks.

Ransomware attacks against large companies, governments and even the military are nothing new, but now criminals have hit a new target: A U.S. candy company. That means your favorite Halloween treats may be tough to find this year.

Not so sweet

The Chicago Tribune reports that one of the largest candy manufacturers in the country was targeted by a ransomware attack. Chicago-based Ferrera discovered an attack on Oct. 9 that encrypted its systems, disrupting production.

Ferrara is the country’s largest producer of candy corn, along with SweeTarts, Laffy Taffy, Nerds, Red Hots, Lemonheads, Atomic Fireballs, Trolli gummies and Everlasting Gobstoppers.

The company is still working with law enforcement to get things back to normal and has resumed production at some of its manufacturing facilities. A spokesperson from Ferrera told the Chicago Tribune that the company is now shipping from all its distribution centers across the country.

Halloween might not be ruined, but what about Thanksgiving? Tap or click here to see how supply chain issues could affect your chances on getting the bird you want. Our advice: Don’t wait when you see turkeys at your grocery store!

You’re at risk, too

Large companies are attractive targets for hackers, but everyday people are at risk, too. Hackers can target large groups of individuals all at once with sophisticated phishing attempts or go after just a single person. They can not only lock your files, but also often threaten to release them to the public.

You can reduce your chance of falling victim to a ransomware attack by taking some precautions.

  • Keep your operating systems, apps and devices updated with the latest official software and patches.
  • Don’t click links or open attachments in unsolicited texts or emails.
  • Use strong, unique passwords for all of your accounts. Many browsers have built-in password managers that do the job for you.
  • Enable two-factor authentication for your devices and online accounts whenever possible.
  • Hover over a link to see if the URL is legitimate. Be aware that scammers can work around this precaution.

The bad news is just one wrong click can lead you into a mess. Tap or click here for resources that can help if you do fall victim to ransomware. These free tools can help you recover your files without paying criminals.

Bonus: Protect your devices with the right software

Threats grow and change online just about every day. You can’t keep up with them all yourself, and it’s easy to be fooled. That’s why you need software that has your back when it comes to protecting your computer and smartphone.

We recommend our sponsor, TotalAV. Right now, get an annual plan with TotalAV for only $19 at That’s over 85% off the regular price, just for Kim’s readers and listeners.

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