Hackers Gunning for Local Governments

If there is one thing we know for certain about hackers, it's that they hold nothing sacred. Cyber crooks are infamous for their attacks on everyday web users, small businesses and even hospitals. But did you know that hackers are also gunning for local governments?

It's true. Local governments store loads of important data that hackers just can't wait to get their greedy hands on. That's why CyberPolicy offers cybersecurity insurance policies for organizations targeted by cybercriminals. Below we will examine the problem plaguing local governments and prescribe a few security solutions to keep organizations safe.

Digital Adversaries
In late July, a group of pro-ISIS cyber vandals defaced several state and local government websites with the following message: \"You will be held accountable Trump, you and all your people for every drop of blood flowing in Muslim countries... I Love Islamic state.\"

According to SC Magazine, the attack impacted the websites of Governor John Kasich and first lady Karen Kasich, the Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Casino Control, the Office of Workforce Transformation, the Office of Health Transformation, the Inspector General, Medicaid and a local Cleveland NBC affiliate \"WKYC.\"

While this incident is alarming, it's rather toothless compared to malware, ransomware, social engineering and phishing scams that infiltrate networks and leverage stolen data for nefarious deeds (like the two breaches at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management). Truth be told, there is an almost constant barrage of these attacks.

Take Minnesota, for example, where state agencies fend off approximately 3 million cyberattacks each day! Only a few of these assaults have made headlines, compared to attacks on the private sector. These include spear phishing attacks on the state's Department of Education and distributed denial-of-service attacks on the judicial website.

State-sponsored hackers have also targeted voter registration systems in Arizona and Illinois. Voter information might be put in further jeopardy as President Donald Trump's voter-fraud panel hopes to record full names, birth dates, political affiliation, voter history and partial Social Security numbers to a database which many experts are calling \"a gold mine for hackers.\"

For these reasons and more, it's no surprise why local governments are taking steps to improve cybersecurity. Nevada, for instance, is laying groundwork for a new Office of Cyber Defense Coordination. Minnesota is also working with 37 other U.S. governors on a pledge to make cybersecurity a top priority.

This is a great first step. It might also behoove local government organizations to train their employees in proper cybersecurity protocols. Training sessions should cover common threats (like phishing attacks, malware downloads and social engineering scams) and the best ways to prevent data breach, including:

  • Avoiding suspicious emails, attachments, downloads and links
  • Using a unique password on every account and service
  • Only storing vital data to an encrypted cloud
  • Never sharing data over an unapproved channel or within unapproved personnel
  • Keeping software, add-ons and applications up to date with the latest security patches

Still, it's important to realize that cyberattacks are virtually inevitable. That's why it is wise to invest in a cybersecurity insurance policy from a reputable provider.

Interested in learning more about keeping your organization safe from cybercrime? Visit CyberPolicy today!

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