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#1 2023-07-21 23:15:24

thrive
Member
Registered: 2023-01-04
Posts: 1,974

Local Govt Targeted by Ransomware: How to Avoid Becoming a Victim

Local governments are extremely important in the lives of the majority of citizens, regardless of the state.

In early 2023, Oakland, California fell victim to a ransomware attack. Although city officials have yet to say how the attack happened, experts believe phishing emails are the most likely cause. As a result, city officials shut down the server to stop the attack. Governments have been the target of many ransomware attacks and disruptions. Because most municipalities have small IT staffs, there is potential for password sharing, credential reuse, and a lack of multi-factor authentication security, exposing vulnerabilities. Oakland is broken#
The phenomenon was first noticed on a Wednesday evening in early February; when officials in Oakland, Calif., quickly took most of the service's back-end servers offline and posted the news on the city's website. A few days later, a state of emergency was declared. As well as a number of office closures, many services remained offline for some time, including Oak311, parking ticket help centres, VAT permits and licences.

The Play ransomware group claimed responsibility for disrupting city services and posted information about the hack on their organization's website. In the first release, they provided 10GB of data containing decades of files. In another, larger breach, as much as 600 GB of data was leaked. play ransomware
The impact of a security breach goes beyond disrupting city services and affects Oakland residents and city employees on a personal level. Between July 2010 and January 2022, city employees were notified that their personal information may have been compromised. In addition, some Oakland residents, such as those who file claims with the city or apply for federal programs through the city, may also be affected.

As expected, this current situation is a nightmare for both IT and city management, as well as a PR nightmare. Many concerned citizens continue to question how they are affected and how they can protect themselves from identity theft.

Consequences of violations#
Any system vulnerability is serious. In this case, the data is encrypted, making the service unusable. However, if the infrastructure is compromised, threat actors could use this access to further infect the city's residents and workers. The data breach in Oakland may have been limited to data loss, but depending on the group responsible, the consequences could have been much more serious.

The work of city IT services is already difficult, often with limited budgets and overworked IT staff. The sheer number of security vulnerabilities found in popular software and the difficulty of dealing with ever-changing threats make IT's job even more difficult. It is therefore important to have policies and procedures in place that go a long way towards protecting and safeguarding local authorities. Passwords and policies that control access to critical services are the foundation of many services. Common best practice guidelines such as NIST 800-63B, ISO 27001/27002 and SOC 2 ensure your organization's success. Enforcing these standards is difficult, and tools like Specop's Password Policy with Disclosed Password Protection can make life easier for struggling IT professionals.

Protecting users with Specop's password policy and password compromise protection#
Keeping up with best practices and standards can be difficult. Fortunately, there are tools like Specops Password Policies that enforce stronger password policies in Active Directory, help ensure compliance with security standards, and block the use of more than 3 billion known compromised passwords to help protect users against ransomware attacks from organizations like Play.

Specop Password Policy
Specop's password policies include a number of features to help keep your organization secure. These include custom dictionaries, unique and customizable password policies, and strong protection against password cracking.

Protect Cities Against Ransomware #
The ongoing challenges facing Oakland, California are complex for residents and city officials alike. The unknown threat of how stolen information can be used for future hacking or identity theft leaves many people feeling anxious and scared. By proactively protecting your government agencies with tools like Specops password policies, you can significantly limit the scope of attacks and strengthen security measures.

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