LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- After a hack forced an entire Kentucky city offline, the FBI wants everyone to know that it's easy to become a victim.
The agency says the more people spend time at their desks on their computers or at home on their phones, the more vulnerable they become.
"I think because we're all online all the time, we're all vulnerable," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Jodi Cohen.
Cohen says as online security practices modernize, the hackers are also upping their game.
"They're using computers to hack computers," she said.
She said many people don't realize just how much of their personal information is online already, so hackers don't even need to target that. Instead, they're looking for dollar signs.
"It boils down to money," she said. "Most of the ransomware business email account compromises is about money."
A hack and a threat with demands to pay up are what happened to the City of Bardstown over Labor Day weekend. That ransomware attack took most of the city offline for nearly a week.
Officials are still trying to determine how it happened, but Cohen says it's easy to fall prey to these attacks.
"We all do it," she said. "It's unfortunate these entities are trying to figure out every day what we're going to click on."
But there are some things people can do to protect themselves. For starters, Cohen says anyone who uses the internet needs to get serious about protection.
"IT security is -- should be -- at the top of everybody's list," she said.
Cohen says it's also about staying vigilant by changing passwords, cleaning out the computer's cache and updating software frequently.
"Because if you're not taking the time to do that, you're putting yourself in a more vulnerable position," she said.
And if you think you're a victim of a hack, report it. It's a federal crime and the FBI has a portal called IC3.gov for people to report what happened to them so it can be investigated.
"We all are moving at a quick pace," she said. "We just have to take the time to slow down."
The FBI also tracks hacker trends and posts them on the IC3 portal. To review them, click on the Consumer Alerts tab, then Public Service Announcements to stay up to date.
As for Bardstown, Nelson County Judge Executive Nicky Rapier said the city is ready to welcome people in for this weekend's Bourbon Festival.
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