Computer hackers targeting local firms, governments – even grandparents

The City of Lockport two years ago paid a ransom to a computer hacker who had gained access to the city’s police records and locked them down.

The Niagara County Health Department computer was hacked earlier this year, and the hacker demanded a ransom to unlock the computer.

Computer hacking is not just the work of foreign governments getting into government or political parties computers. Computers are hacked every day in Erie and Niagara counties, computer experts say.

Hackers have targeted hundreds of local businesses, hospitals, schools and other institutions, according to Jason Fickett, special agent in charge of the Buffalo FBI’s Cyber Squad.

Some local companies have paid thousands of dollars in ransom to hackers who blocked access to computerized information – like Social Security numbers and credit card data to private details about individuals’ health care. Nationally, ransomware is believed to be a billion dollar a year industry.

“The criminals will lock down

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