THE CYBER SECURITY ISSUE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS ARE FACING
Cyber security is a growing issue for many organizations around the world, but no sector has seen a recent rise in hacker attention like local government.
Looking at U.S government as a whole, it is estimated that by mid-2018, there were less than 100k ransomware attacks on U.S. government entities. Today, that number is estimated to be over 1.5 million attacks. Hackers see the U.S. as a huge target, and the numbers show how much their attention on government has increased.
Big cities with big budgets are paying big prices when they fall victim to a breach.
In May of 2019, the City of Baltimore was infected with a new kind of ransomware called “RobinHood.” Hackers demanded $76,000 in ransom - a relatively small number compared to other government ransoms - but the cost for the city climbed well beyond that. Various Baltimore systems were crippled for a month, and repairing damaged city infrastructure is estimated to be over $18 million in the end.
But it’s not just the big fish that are being harpooned.
In 2019, nearly half of all reported government ransomware attacks targeted cities, counties, and towns with populations less than 55,000 people.
Local governments across the state of Texas felt this hit hard in August of 2019 when 22 towns were hit by a coordinated ransomware attack. If and how much ransom was paid across the state has not been disclosed, but it took weeks, and in some cases months, for each local government to get back to normal.
WHY IS LOCAL GOVERNMENT SUCH A BIG TARGET?
Small municipalities are the perfect target for hackers for a few reasons:
Local governments are big enough to carry a large amount of citizens’ personal data, but small enough to not have robust security measures in place.
While a city government breach might not yield the gains that a successful attack on a major corporation would give, local government’s lack of security measures mean hackers’ efforts are successful more of the time.
Government agencies, due to unpreparedness in backups and responsibilities to its citizens, might be more likely to pay a ransom than others.
All of this combines to make local government an ideal, growing target for cyber attacks.
With all the different ways that hackers can try to attack an organization, there is no single solution that will keep you safe from everything. Your local government should be using a Defense in Depth solution that layers security to stop attacks at various levels.
Most government agencies worry about security as a growing issue but struggle to come up with a solid security solution that fits within a tax-payers’ budget. We use our experience with many government clients to build custom security solutions that protect your data and respect your budget, so you can be confident your operations and citizens’ info will be safe and secure.