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We previously wrote about targeted cyber-attacks on state and local governments in Florida. To read more click here.

What Happened?

Unfortunately, the rash of attacks has continued, with 23 Texas municipalities announcing they have been victimized as well.

State officials have confirmed that a breach began Friday morning which has taken the computer systems of 23 small local governments offline.

Thus far, officials have only named two of the localities: Borger and Keene, Texas. The hacker, who is still unknown, has demanded a ransom in exchange for returned function of government systems. Affected cities cannot process utility payments nor provide birth and death certificates online. Thus far, none of the areas impacted by the hack have paid the ransom.

Intelligence Expert at Recorded Future, Allan Liska stated, “What’s unique about this attack and something we hadn’t seen before is how coordinated this attack is. It does present a new front in the ransomware attack. It absolutely is the largest coordinated attack we’ve seen.”

Why So Many?

Recorded Future has found that cyberattacks on government institutions are on the rise, with at least 169 incidents of hacking found in government computer systems since 2013.  These hacks are often performed by sending infected links and attachments through seemingly benign emails to bait employees. Once the user launches the virus, it infects the user’s PC and spreads throughout the entire business network.

Sadly, approximately 17% of the facilities hit with ransomware pay the ransom. “Sometimes the reality of the situation may call for it. If the backups aren’t working or if the bad guys have encrypted your backups, then unfortunately that’s what you’re left with,” Liska explained.

In light of the recent series of attacks, local officials are scrambling to implement cyber security protocols. State and local governments are holding cyber security awareness trainings for employees and backing up their servers to secure their data.

What Now?

Don’t get caught off-guard by a cyberattack. The reality is small businesses are NOT too small to go unnoticed by hackers, despite what you may want to believe. The best thing you can do to protect your business from costly, devastating data loss is to hire a competent, experienced IT Managed Service Provider. They will evaluate your network and implement proactive cyber security protections that secure your data and safeguard your network.

At Performance Connectivity, Inc., we provide comprehensive IT managed services that include proactive monitoring of activity on your network, regular cyber security awareness trainings for you and your employees, and effective backup and recovery solutions that will keep your data safe and accessible. Don’t wait until it’s too late to take cyber security seriously. Call us at 914-934-9775 or email info@p-connect.com and ask how PCI can improve the cyber security of your business.