LAS VEGAS (KLAS)– Ransomware, an online crime wave where hackers hold your information hostage in order to make you pay up, has a new group joining in and it seems they will target just about anyone.

A new ransomware operation named “0mega” targets organizations and businesses worldwide in double-extortion attacks demanding millions in ransom.

“Ransomware is when you have a cyber crime or somebody else that essentially is able to hack into your system,” said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Lt. Allen Larsen.

In May, 0mega hackers started threatening to disclose the attacks to business partners if a ransom is not paid.

“They start encrypting your data you have on your computer,” said Lt. Larsen. “Compromises their server, all of their data, all of the customer files, their employee files.”

In 2021, hackers targeted the software of 5,000 schools. If hackers break through a business firewall, the impact can be felt company-wide.

In Ohio, there was a recent hack where a business breach affected nearly 5,000 people resulting in their credit card numbers all being lifted.

“They encrypt that data sometimes they’ll exfiltrate it, meaning they send it to their server so they save a copy of it and, what they’ll do is they’ll use that to extort money from you,” Lt. Larsen said. “and then if you refuse to pay that ransom, then the next thing they’ll do is they’ll try to blackmail you and say, hey look, if you don’t release $500,000 then we’re going to release all of this personal identifying information of your customers and employees on the dark web, and give it to all the criminals that are out there.”

To protect you and your team, experts recommend multi-factor authentication, updating software, restricting admin privileges, and provide online security training for all staff.

For more tips on how you can protect your family online CLICK HERE.