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News of the Colonial Pipeline being shut down in the U.S. due to a ransomware attack highlights the urgency of the threat and need to take action to defend against it. This software attack led to the decision to shut down the pipeline from Texas that is a main source of fuel for the Eastern U.S. The UTSA Institute for Economic Development (IED) is sharing steps that can be taken to protect small businesses and organizations.

“We recognize and appreciate the fact that small businesses comprise the backbone of our nation’s economy,” said Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. secretary of homeland security, speaking to a virtual audience of approximately 1,500 small and medium-sized business owners at a May 5 U.S. Chamber of Commerce virtual event.

“It is for that very reason that individuals who pose a threat to our nation—who employ cyber tools and particularly ransomware as the vehicle for realizing that threat—target small businesses as extensively as they do,” Mayorkas explained.

For small businesses, there are cybersecurity resources and best practices available. Victor Malloy, Texas Cybersecurity Compliance Program project manager at the UTSA IED, leads a cybersecurity training program for small businesses.

Malloy has more than 20 years of experience as a leader in information technology programs with the U.S. Air Force, Department of Defense, and the financial services and defense industries, including leading daily cyber operations within the Air Force Cyberspace Operations Center. He provides expert technical guidance on defending against cyber threats.