Four U.S. cities attacked by ransomware this month
Florida, New Orleans and California faced cyberattacks that crippled some city government systems in December.
Matt Aldridge, principal solutions architect for cybersecurity provider Webroot:
“New Orleans is probably better prepared for manual operations than many other cities due to its experience with handling disasters and the planning it will have in place for future events. If it is able to keep skeleton services running despite having no IT service, this could be a good exmple for other cities to follow. Details of the attack are scarce but it isn’t an attack without precedence. Ransoms charged were in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and many victims are choosing to pay the ransom. Insurance companies in these cases are pushing to pay as it is usually a lot cheaper than suffering an attack, but this is fueling this criminal industry. Unfortunately, we will continue to see the low-hanging fruit of smaller cities and municipalities being targeted, particularly where there is a high prevalence of cyber insurance in place, where insurers find the ransom cost lower than remediation costs. Hopefully as this part of the insurance industry evolves it will work more closely with cybersecurity vendors and service providers to ensure that insured parties are properly protected from the majority of threats.”