Ransomware Targets Government Sector and Ravages Industries Worldwide: Part 2

In a previous blog post entitled, Ransomware Targets Government Sector and Ravages Industries Worldwide, we discussed how enormous ransomware cyberattacks have rippled across the world targeting many industry sectors – including city governments.  These attacks include the recent Petya (aka GoldenEye), reported in late June 2017, as well as WannaCry May 2017.

While ransomware can target any industry, business or individual, Government Computer News reports that the government sector is seeing a larger proportion of ransomware attacks than ever before.   Therefore, municipal organizations must be on high alert and learn how to protect their networks against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks.

However, protecting against malware, ransomware, and other cyberattacks, is a multi-tiered process that involves everyone at every level of an organization.  Here are some key tips to keep in mind:

Invest in the latest Hardware/Software:

  • Having the most updated operating systems (OS) such as Windows 10 is a good prevention measure as newer OS tend to have fewer security vulnerabilities. If you have a less current OS, experts warn to “apply the latest Microsoft security patches for this particular flaw.”
  • Ensure your anti-virus programs are conducting regular scans with the latest virus signature files.
  • Update or invest in new systems that offer more protection such as Next Generation Firewalls (NGFW).  NGFW have many advantages including deep-packet inspection, application-level inspection, intrusion prevention, and intelligence from outside the firewall.

 

Employee Training:

  • Ensure employees at all levels of an organization are trained and understand what malware is and how to spot rogue emails.  Employees need to know that they should never open attachments sent by an unknown sender.  CXO Today reports that “…cybercriminals often distribute fake email messages mimicking email notifications from an online store or a bank, luring a user to click on a malicious link and distribute malware.”  As such, organizations also need to update antispam settings.

 Have a Security Plan/Incident Response Team in Place:

  • Having a security or incident plan in place for when an attack occurs is a proactive strategy for dealing with a cyberattack. CXO Today writes, “Internal confusion within the teams often delays the response to the cyberattack causing potential loss to the organization. Therefore, it is essential to establish an incident response team, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities.”
  • A security plan also can include a concise inventory of assets, users, applications, and traffic flows.  Without knowing what you have, data can be stolen quickly and may not be detected for months.

 

City governments must ensure their data is properly protected. Ransomware and other cyber threats are very real, and happening with rapidly increasing frequency all over the globe. For more information on protecting your network, contact DiamondIT.