Ransomware attacks are increasing at alarming numbers, across all types of institutions and industries, and local governments are one of the most sought-after targets by attackers. According to a recent report by the Barracuda Networks, “nearly two-thirds of all publicly known ransomware attacks in the United States in 2019 have targeted state or local governments. So, what makes a local government entity so enticing to cyber-attackers? They possess a lot of data and are eager to protect that data to keep citizens feeling safe and secure. There are a number of things a government can do to help prevent a ransomware attack, but to do so, you must understand exactly what you are up against.
What is Ransomware?
Ransomware is a type of malicious software, or malware, that usually infects systems through phishing emails or an infected hyperlink or website. In a ransomware cyber-attack, perpetrators use malware to encrypt a victim’s files and deny them access to their data or system until a ransom, usually in the form of cryptocurrency, is paid.
Ransomware attacks are generally easy to set up and difficult to prosecute, so the monetary gain and publicity continue to be strong motivators for cybercriminals. However, only about 17% of ransomware victims actually pay any form of ransom.
How Governments Can Protect Their Data
Smaller, local or rural governments are often chosen as victims to ransomware attackers because they may not have the funding for state-of-the-art technology or a robust IT team, according to Barracuda’s report. All local government and their supporting agencies are urged to be vigilant in protecting against attacks. They can do so by:
· Ensuring all of their applications and systems are updated regularly.
· Using antivirus software protection and installing firewalls
· Training employees not to open emails or click on links from unknown senders
Although, you can do your best to prevent against attacks, you must also be prepared to deal with ransomware infecting your network because the reality is that these types of cyber-attacks are going to continue and are likely happening as you read this blog. They are on the rise as there has been nearly 100 ransomware attacks against state and local government entities so far in 2019, up from a total of 51 in all of 2018. SubRosa Cyber Solutions can help you identify vulnerabilities in your systems, patch your systems and ensure you are prepared in the case of a data breach.