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Is Your Municipality at Risk of a Ransomware Attack?

The Scoop, Municipality, Local Government, Ransomware, DRaaS, Disaster Recovery as a Service, Disaster Recovery, City, Cyber Security, Security

Gold dome of Georgia Capitol in Atlanta

Is Your Municipality at Risk of a Ransomware Attack?

Are you worried that your municipality is next on the list of devastating ransomware attacks? Don’t wait to find out! Now is the time to take action against ransomware.

The Hustle reported that this year “38% of the municipalities […] are expected to be targeted by ransomware, compared to only 13% in 2016.” It’s becoming no longer a matter of if your municipality could be targeted, but when.

The good news in all of this? With preventative protection you don’t have to remain vulnerable.

In this blog, we explain the impact a ransomware attack could have on your municipality and how Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) offers the protection you need.

Ransomware concept illustration with laptop chain, lock, and file folder

How Much Can Ransomware Cost You?

Ransomware is malware that infects a computer and restricts access to data by encrypting files. Once the access is blocked, the user is prompted to pay the attacker (typically via a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin) in order to restore access to their files. Ransomware can infect a computer through something as simple as employees unwittingly clicking malicious links in an email.

Just this year, cyber criminals demanded $51,000 in Bitcoin from Atlanta’s city government. Refusing to pay the ransom, Atlanta faced $11.5 million in costs to restore its systems. Not to mention the devastating effects that stunted their operations, including a crippled city court, residents unable to pay bills, and the police department having to complete reports on paper.

Many other ransomware attacks have struck municipalities this year, including back in April, where authorities spent $100k recovering from a ransomware attack in Spring Hill, Tennessee.

The costs of a ransomware attack on your municipality can include:

  • Thousands or even millions in financial costs of restoration or paying the ransom
  • Loss of valuable data (public records, court orders, police records)
  • Loss of access to critical applications (email, reporting systems, data access)
  • Halted operations from restricted resources and recording capabilities
  • Frustrated employees and citizens unable to access crucial services (paying taxes, contacting emergency services, employment)
  • Damaged reputation and trust in municipality
 Illustration of public service options for a municipality with icons connected in circles

Why Are Municipalities Being Targeted?

Common characteristics of municipalities are the very reasons they make attractive targets for ransomware attacks, including:

1. Low Tolerance For Downtime

Local governments of any size face high costs for restoration and dealing with downtime, including valuable data and the well-being of citizens and employees on the line. Cyber criminals are well aware of this mounted pressure, knowing municipalities must decide whether to face the cost of remediation or take the easy way out: paying criminals with taxpayer dollars.

2. Weak Security Measures in Place

Resources and funding are often tight for municipalities, leading to a lack of investment in proper security measures, outdated systems, and limited IT experts on-hand. Municipalities are often viewed as easier targets than private sector companies for this reason. Sadly, this lack of investment up-front is what costs municipalities even more in the end.

3. A Proven Track Record For Paying Up

With past successes using ransomware against municipalities, cyber criminals are drawn to target them again and again. The NY Times reports that in 2012 “only 2.9 percent of victims paid,” but today “the rate is as high as 48 percent.”

IT Manager touching a security icon in the form of a lock on a digital screen with a city in the background

DRaaS Can Stop Ransomware Dead in Its Tracks

The good news is that you don’t have to make a hard call between paying a ransom or paying for remediation. You have a third option: peace of mind knowing your municipality is protected by LightBound's Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).

DRaaS hosts and replicates your servers to enable failover in the event of a ransomware attack, allowing you to rewind your systems to the last point in time (to within a matter of seconds) before the infection struck. It recovers all of your critical systems, applications, databases, and individual files in minutes with only a few clicks.

Want to learn more about DRaaS? Have questions about ransomware or best cyber security practices and options for your municipality?

Sign up for a FREE, no-obligation, 1-hour tech assessment with LightBound’s experts. We’ll help you better understand where your municipality stands when it comes to security and share what steps you can take moving forward.

Click here for your Free Consultation

July 30, 2018 / by Dane Dittemore