Establishing a comprehensive statewide strategy for cybersecurity


The Rise of Ransomware Attacks: Threats to State and Local Governments

Ransomware attacks have been on a steady rise, impacting state and local agencies across the country, disrupting essential services for constituents. Just recently, the Los Angeles Unified School District fell victim to cyber hackers, resulting in their systems being paralyzed and a ransom demanded shortly after.

A concerning statistic reveals that while 80% of state and local IT leaders acknowledge the threat posed by ransomware, less than half have a proper incident response plan in place. This oversight is costing taxpayers over $18.11 billion annually and jeopardizing crucial services.

Paying ransom fees further perpetuates the problem, making organizations susceptible to future attacks. The emergence of cryptocurrency has enabled cybercriminals to evade detection, complicating matters even more.

In response to these escalating threats, both federal and state governments are taking action. President Biden signed the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 into law, mandating the reporting of ransom payments. Additional initiatives like the Joint Ransomware Task Force aim to enhance collaboration between government entities and the private sector to combat ransomware attacks.

States such as North Carolina and Florida have passed laws prohibiting ransom payments by government agencies, with similar legislation pending in several other states. Proactive cyber hygiene measures, robust data recovery practices, and strategic partnerships across state and local organizations are essential for safeguarding against ransomware threats.

By implementing comprehensive cybersecurity strategies and fostering information-sharing, states can bolster their defenses and mitigate the impact of ransomware attacks. Ultimately, a unified and proactive approach is crucial in safeguarding critical infrastructure and preserving public services.

Related articles

Recent articles