Are our US Cities under attack right now? Sure seems like it given the number of cities in the news that have been taken down with Ransomware attacks.
Ransomware attacks against organizations are never going away, and attacks against government institutions seem to be an easy target, and an easy way to make money for some.
In a quick 5 minute search on google, I located 13 Government run networks that were taken down/breached recently with Ransomware.
- Riviera Beach, Fl
- City of Baltimore
- Greenville, N.C.
- Lake City FL
- Atlanta GA
- Port of San Diego
- MUSCATINE, Iowa
- West Haven CT
- The City of Farmington NM
- City of Albany
- Del Rio, Texas,
- Palm Beach County village
- Jackson County
I have a read a few articles that actually put that number higher, more than 50 government run (City, County, State, Federal) networks that were ill prepared, not up to date, and clearly not being monitored by anyone. All of them breached with Ransomware.
Some have elected to pay the ransom, others (like Baltimore) decided not to do so, and now are spending millions of dollars to recover. There was even talk about asking FEMA to assist them.
In the recent case of Riviera Beach, they knew their systems were antiquated, had gone to the city council on Feb 20 2019 asking to spend $798,419.00 to purchase a new backup system. The council approved it that night, but it was never installed.
All of them have something in common, besides being a tax payer funded government, and that is basic precautions were not taken, including monitoring.
With the recent announcement from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) regarding the large increase of attacks from Iran specifically, all organizations should look to better monitor what is occurring 24/7 on their networks and systems. Something as basic as reviewing logs 24 hours a day can go a long way in mitigating threats. This of course is something we do as part of our MDR & Threat Hunting services we offer for hundreds of customer right now, including governmental organizations.