The New Ransomware Target: Local Government
Ransom demand rose for local governments
Not only is the number of attacks growing exponentially (studies show that between 2018 and 2019, known attacks on local governments rose 58.5%), but the ransom demand rose from a monthly average of $30,000 to nearly $500,000 within the past few years. Even when cities don’t pay, the recovery costs can be staggering. For instance, the 2019 ransomware attack on Baltimore cost the city more than $18 million in damages in remediation.
Municipalities can take these three simple steps to help mitigate ransomware attacks:
1. Implement password hygiene.
Although we all laugh about having “123Password” as a password, many municipalities haven’t implemented strict password rules. At a minimum the password should be:
- At least ten characters with a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters.
- Do not allow phrases.
- Advise your employees not to use the same password for multiple sites (including their home sites).
- Do not allow passwords to be repeated.
- Do not share passwords.
- Make sure your anti-virus software is up to date.
- Store and transmit passwords securely. You may want to purchase encryption.
2. Employ two-factor authentication.
3. Review remote desktop protocols.
Remember, your cybersecurity is only as good as your weakest link.
As hackers become more sophisticated, municipalities must also adopt cybersecurity approaches, including detection and response, should an attack occur. Our upcoming blogs will focus on evaluating and improving your cybersecurity posture and steps to take if an attack does occur. Remember, your cybersecurity is only as good as your weakest link. Dewpoint is here to help you identify and mitigate your risks. Contact us today to find out ways to increase your security posture