Ransomware attacks are becoming more common in New York State, especially Upstate New York, according to State Senator Chuck Schumer. This is where hackers hold sensitive information hostage for large sums of money - information that is procured from local governments, school districts, and businesses vulnerable to this type of cyber attack.

Once a computer network has been infected with ransomware, it can be locked in ways that keep information technology managers from accessing it. It's a serious problem that Schumer is pressing for our federal government to become more involved in.

Schumer is promoting federal legislation designed to step up the law enforcement response to hacking. A bill, already approved by the House of Representatives and now awaiting action in the Senate, would authorize the federal Department of Homeland Security to assist in protecting state and local agencies from cyber threats and restore the functionality of networks if they were hit with ransomware.

There have been multiple ransomware attacks here in Upstate New York: school districts in Watertown, Syracuse, Rochester and the Finger Lakes, along with similar attacks on computers kept by police agencies, hospitals, banks and other entities holding a large volume of personal data.