Ransomware attacks are often a form of malware; a virus whose name implies exactly how the interaction between the victim and predatory cyber attackers is intended to play out. The malicious entity accesses unprotected user data and encrypts (crypto ransomware) the information from its original owners. Limiting owners from accessing their data/files puts the security of all their customers, investors, employees, and their own organization’s services at risk.
A ransom for the safe return of the data is requested in order to receive the mathematical key required for the decryption of their information.
According to the Consumer Business Review, “Nearly 1,000 US government agencies, educational establishments and healthcare providers were hit by ransomware attacks in 2019.”
Cities and their government agencies make prime targets due to the sensitivity of their data, the immediacy with which they need access to their digital accounts, and their willingness to accommodate ransom demands to avoid negative press coverage and reduce fears.
Since cities are at the core of local economies and services, the effects impact more than the employees staffed in local government positions. Impacts extend to:
To illustrate the consequences associated with ransomware attacks, we’ve listed out three times U.S. cities were recently hacked.
Torrance, California experienced a ransomware attack reported on in early March of this year. According to the news, the city is unable to access or process credit card payments made to the city for its services. City employee email services and the ability to edit their own website have also been frozen by the ransomware attack.
While the city reports that no user data has been compromised, the inability to prevent or eliminate the ransomware security threat is concerning. It prevents the city from securely collecting money for vital services and to communicate via their official email channels. It is also unclear when they will regain access as they move forward.
In Lake City, Florida, officials were faced with a challenge after their network experienced a ransomware attack that gave hackers access to their utility maps, geographic information systems data, as well as the records for every meeting, ordinance, and resolution since the inception of the city.
The concern here is that Lake City government officials, including the mayor, felt as if they had to pay the ransom. Paying criminals for your own data is risky. There is no guarantee or obligation that the hackers hold up their end of the bargain. That being said, recovery of the affected data can be complicated and require vast sums of money and time.
It is estimated that Baltimore, Maryland has spent up to $18 million dollars recovering from a recent ransomware attack. This dollar amount, according to the Baltimore Sun, is the cost of both recovery and lost services payments from the attack.
The New York Times reported that the RobinHood ransomware, “took down voicemail, email, a parking fines database, and a system used to pay water bills, property taxes and vehicle citations. At least 1,500 pending home sales have been delayed, too, according to a letter from a group of congressional lawmakers in Maryland requesting information on the attack from the directors of the F.B.I. and the Secret Service.”
Blacksands’ leadership in the world of large-scale network security and connectivity brings you a simple, secure and scalable remote connectivity platform, which when fully deployed, prevents ransomware attacks on cities and other critical infrastructure systems.
Our administrative console gives our clients complete visibility and control over requests and permissions for every connection within and into their network, along with real-time, detailed logs for administrators. Our patented separation of powers architecture prevents would-be ransomware attempts from accessing your network services, even if they gain access to a device, because service access is granted on a per connection basis the attack cannot be fulfilled nor expand.
Blacksands’ will keep your city secure, lower costs, and give you complete control over your network. Try our FREE Pilot: