A federal cybersecurity agency and state government associations issued guidance on protecting city, county, and state governments from the growing threat of a ransomware attack.
The agency urged governments to take preventative action to protect their information technology systems from ransomware attacks that have cost municipalities millions in damage, ransom fees, and lost revenues.
They recommended three steps to improve resiliency against ransomware.
- Regularly back-up all critical agency systems and store the back-ups offline.
- Reinforce basic cybersecurity awareness among employees and remind them how to report incidents.
- Revisit and refine cyber incident response plans and have a clear plan in place to address a cyberattack when it occurs.
A ransomware attack on Baltimore is expected to cost the city $18 million and two Florida cities recently paid hundreds of thousands of dollars in ransom fees to recover their data. At least 170 city, county, or state governments have experienced a ransomware attack since 2013 according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.