The Clear and Present Danger of Organized Cyber Syndicates

In this first of a 4 part series examining the escalating threat from nation state cybercriminals towards state & local governments and the safe haven of migration to the cloud, we examine the severity and sophistication of the current cybercrime landscape and the specifics factors that render government agencies increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Why State & Local Governments are the
Front Lines in the Escalating Cyber War

 

Nearly half of local governments are experiencing daily cyberattacks and both the frequency and severity of these attacks are escalating. Of equal concern, according to a nationwide survey of local government cybersecurity officials, 58.4% of local governments are unable to even determine who is attacking their systems!

These findings underscore a growing and potentially catastrophic issue impacting state and local governments: the ever-increasing sophistication of cybercrime syndicates vs. the constrained budgets and skills shortage of conventional government cybersecurity operations.

Recent reports by CBS’ 60 Minutes and The Register reveal that cyberthreats have malevolently evolved from the isolated actions of disenfranchised ‘hackers’ into sophisticated criminal and intelligence gathering syndicates, many of which are allegedly sanctioned by nation states using criminal groups as proxies. In terms of intelligence gathering, state and local government agencies represent particularly fertile hunting grounds for these ‘cyber mafias’ with large population databases sufficient to facilitate comprehensive identity theft and social engineering profiles. In fact, a 2016 report from CyberRisk monitor BitInsights confirmed that government agencies are the second most frequent target of ransomware attacks, second only to our resource constrained and vulnerable academic institutions.

From the City of Atlanta spending $2.6 million to respond to a ransomware attack to the recent RobbinHood attack which could cost the City of Baltimore as much as $18 million, the potential losses from unsuccessfully defended cyberattacks are punitive in the extreme.

So, why are government agencies especially vulnerable to these attacks, and what can be done to stymie these cyber extortionists? Let’s start with a summary of the root causes:

Why State & Local Governments are Increasingly Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

 

If this sounds dire, it should. The threat is real, severe, and the urgency to deal with it is increasing with each passing day.

The good news is, there is a solution to each-and-every one of the cybersecurity challenges mentioned above that are currently threatening our state and local government agencies.

In the next article in this series, we’ll show you that solution. More importantly, we’ll show you how your government agency can easily plot a path to this more secure, safe and sustainable solution. The best news of all? It’s more cost effective and cost sustainable than the current model.

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