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Don’t Let Your City Be Held for Ransom

CSO explains why governments are becoming an increasingly large target for ransomware attacks, and it’s no surprise why. As we discussed previously, small IT teams and small budgets set up some difficult conditions for data protection.

City, county, and other municipal government offices are vulnerable for a number of reasons. They have lots of sensitive data (would you want your traffic tickets, tax info, or your home remodel permits accessed by a cybercriminal?). Government IT systems are rarely the latest and greatest due to budget restrictions. And if the IT infrastructure is a legacy or sprawling patchwork of systems, there are security holes that need to be filled.

Given their lean resources, city and municipal agencies operate much like small businesses. IT staff are often overworked generalists, without specific training in data security. Other municipal workers are also likely to be untrained on how to identify suspicious emails or web malvertising.

Months after a ransomware attack on the city of Baltimore, the financial toll has been calculated with a whopping $18 million for recovery and damages. In Canada, Ontario’s Provincial Police is issuing warnings to municipalities about the dangers of attacks on cities.

As in any industry, there are ways to protect against attacks. Some are common sense, and some may take a bit more expertise. At a minimum, public-sector IT pros must immediately take steps to secure data both onsite and off.

Here are the top 3 things to do to secure your data:
  1. Put backups offline, at another site/cloud, or on another network.
  1. Store backup and archived data in an immutable format so that it cannot be altered or accessed by cyberattacks.
  1. Scan primary, backup, and archive data for ransomware signatures and viruses.

To learn more about a foolproof solution to prevent ransomware, click here to read about ioFABRIC software!