Ransomware Attacks on Municipalities: Are You Prepared?

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Ransomware is an increasing problem for municipalities, including small ones. Whether you're a school, library, airport, court, town, city, or bigger, you are at risk. In the last year, these attacks have hit dozens of municipalities, leaving some to pay, some scrambling to do work on paper, and some rebuilding their systems from scratch. Others were able to recover because they had a disaster recovery strategy in place and others were able to avoid the problem altogether by being proactive. Our new guide highlights some of the recent attacks, challenges, and resolutions, explains the basics of ransomware, discusses how to block a threat and offers tips on recovering.

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www.PrescientSolutions.com Ransomware Attacks on Municipalities • Ransomware is an increasing problem for municipalities including small ones. • There have been at least 170 ransomware attacks on state county or city governments since 2013. • Of 70 attacks during the frst half of 2019 more than two-thirds targeted cities. • Small municipalities are frequent targets due to lack of strong cybersecurity defenses. • Attacks target schools libraries airports courts and other municipal facilities. • Recovery can take weeks and be costly. • Some recent attacks: Ransomware Attacks on Municipalities 09/2019 Orange County NY Delayed frst day of school. Date Location Impact Resolution Two school districts in Long Island NY Student and staff information unavailable. Unable to accept payments issue birth/death certifcates perform other functions. 22 municipalities in Texas Systems including email down. Unable to perform functions including property transfers and sending out water bills. Airport fight and baggage info screens could not display data. Additional staff required for two weeks to perform manual operations. City Center shut down for several days. Systems rebuilt from scratch. Costs include overtime and additional software licenses. Police unable to access crime reports or schedules City Hall unable to generate birth certifcates marriage licenses and other documents. More than a week for full recovery. Baltimore MD Cleveland OH Augusta ME Albany NY 08/2019 08/2019 05/2019 04/2019 04/2019 03/2019 Unknown. One district restored from clean backup. One district paid 88000 ransom. More than a month and more than 18 million to recover. Unknown. © 2019 Prescient Solutions

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Ransomware Explained • Ransomware is a type of malware. • Like other malware gains access through phishing exploit kits and malvertising. • Unlike malware that steals data malware encrypts data and makes it unreadable. • Some ransomware can spread through network to connected drives and other servers. • Requires bitcoin or other untraceable cybercurrency ransom for decryption key. • If ransom isn’t paid by deadline ransom amount may increase eventually the encryption key is thrown away and data becomes unrecoverable. Blocking the Ransomware Threat • Defending against ransomware is like defending against any other kind of malware. • Develop a strong cybersecurity strategy including antivirus frewall and other tools. • Keep patches up to date to close known vulnerabilities. • Train employees to recognize phishing attempts and use other safe computing practices. • Scan email for known malware to prevent it from reaching employees. • Restrict privileged access and limit employees’ ability to install programs. • Use application whitelisting to block ransomware from executing. Recovering from Ransomware • No defense is 100 effective so you need a plan for recovering from an attack. • As soon as you recognize an attack disconnect infected systems and disable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to keep it from spreading. • Should you pay the ransom This may be cheaper than other recovery strategies but is not recommended. There is no guarantee you’ll receive the key you encourage hackers to attack others and you may be victimized again. • Identify the specifc ransomware that attacked you. Some variants have known solutions to decrypt data and recover. • In most cases you will need to restore from a good backup before the ransomware hit. • Your disaster recovery strategy applies www.PrescientSolutions.com © 2019 Prescient Solutions 1515 Woodfeld Rd Suite 880 Schaumburg IL 60173 141 W. Jackson Blvd Suite 3850 Chicago IL 60604 Phone: 847 240-3900 Phone: 888 343-6040

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