Ransomware takes down Auburn Food Bank network – but community steps up

Operators replacing servers, purchasing and reinstalling software

Cyber thieves spare no one and nothing in their greed.

Unfortunately, one of the latest victims is the Auburn Food Bank, whose network was ensnared, crippled and toppled by the ransomware virus on June 4.

That means no incoming or outgoing email messages, said Auburn Food Bank Executive Director Debbie Christian.

Without the network, Christian said, the food bank has no way to track its client base and all of the demographics it must have to apply for grants. That means, it has no information to create reports for the grant work that requires quarterly or yearly reporting. Such grants also ask the food bank to upload its budgets, its last audit, some of its policies and its 501-C-3 status.

“There is nothing left in our computers that we could use, there is no email program. All our history is gone,” Christian said.

But as Auburnites have shown time and again, they are not accustomed to letting such a wrong stand. On this occasion, said Christian, the community began to ride to the rescue 20 seconds after word got out.

“A benefactor just started our ‘computer rebuild fund with a very large check,” Christian reported in a message from her private email to the city on June 7. “Seven people – and the mayor’s office – so far, have come in to get forms to help us retype everything. “

That being said, it will take time to get things back to normal.

“We just talked to Kent Youth and Family, who got hit a few months back and were told they are still trying to work out of it,” Christian told the Auburn Reporter. “We are replacing our servers and all our software has to be purchased and reinstalled and then configuring our computers to run through the servers. It’s a mess.

“… I’m so grateful to those who have come in to get forms and documents from us that they are taking home and typing and bringing back to us to save to our computers. They are saving us a lot of time. … I say it over and over and over – Auburn is the most amazing town.”

If you receive an email from the food bank, Christian cautioned, keep it but don’t open it because it will have to be tested.

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