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Billings businesses encouraged to increase security amidst rise in cyber attacks

The Billings Tech Guys
Posted at 5:29 PM, Feb 22, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-22 19:29:58-05

The Billings Tech Guys, a local business located on Broadwater Avenue, is encouraging businesses to increase their security as cyber attacks become more common.

A nationwide outage occurred Wednesday after Change Healthcare, a tech company that often serves as a link between pharmacies and insurance companies, was attacked, causing many to pay for their medical prescriptions out-of-pocket.

Billings Tech Guys Founder Dylan Solberg said that outage is just the most recent example of a growing problem.

"In the last three months really, it's even skyrocketed," Solberg said Thursday afternoon. "It's one of those things you don't think about, but when they do get hacked, it affects huge."

Solberg said the biggest problem comes from a lack of protection. Most small businesses feel safe using the internet just like everyone else, but Solberg said that's where a majority of the problems come from.

"In reality, 82 percent of the attacks become when you're in the cloud," Solberg said. "So, if you're in the cloud, you're more likely to be attacked."

While their business focuses mostly on repairing tech problems, the Billings Tech Guys have recently become more involved in cyber security. Manager Tanner Irigoin said that once installed, their software works a lot like any fraud detection service.

"It's kind of like a fraud detection on your credit card," Irigoin said. "If you log in, it's going to notice it right away, block the sign and not let them in."

Wednesday night's outage was felt by insurance companies like Blue Cross Blue Shield, which released a statement regarding the incident that said, "We're aware that some pharmacies are experiencing systems issues due to having a nationwide outage... If you chose not to delay filling your prescription, you have the option to pay for the medication out of pocket and submit the receipt with the reimbursement form."

"It's kind of what we've seen in the last two years or three years, especially in small businesses," Solberg said. "They know they don't have anything in place, so they're easy targets."

Solberg and Irigoin said that while this outage was caused by an attack on a large national tech company, these attacks are more common in small businesses. That's why they're encouraging businesses to increase their security before the problem hits them.

"Just being educated is the biggest thing we say," Irigoin said. "Just so we can hit on where they're sitting on as a business and where they can go moving forward."