Security Lessons from Across the Pond: Local Government Ransomware Attacks

Although ransomware has declined in media coverage, it appears to be gaining in strategic precision. F5 Labs' David Warburton writes for IDG Connect, discussing concrete steps for public sector organizations to defend themselves effectively.
January 17, 2020
1 min. read

EMEA's mainstream media's spotlight on ransomware attacks may have dimmed over the last 18 months but that doesn't mean the threat has disappeared. There is certainly no room for complacency, and we would do well to pay attention to recent events across the pond.

Far from diminishing in disruptive impact, ransomware attacks appear to have gained a new level of strategic precision, including a spate of public sector organisations being taken offline. Schools, municipalities, and government agencies have all been hit. The US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (DHS CISA) has now cited ransomware as "the most visible cybersecurity risk" attacking American IT systems.

This level of "visibility" is, in part, because a single, one-time infection originating from a user with high-level privileges can disable thousands of servers and cause weeks of disruption for millions. A recent incident with the Baltimore City government vividly illustrates the consequences: two weeks of crippled systems and a ransom of $100,000 to cough up. Elsewhere, more than 20 local governments in Texas have been targeted in a similarly effective and coordinated attack back in August.

A pattern is emerging, and rest assured it won't be constrained by geographical boundaries.

Read the full article published January 2, 2020 here: by IDG Connect.

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Authors & Contributors
David Warburton (Author)
Director, F5 Labs

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