Hacker attacks have become a problem for local governments, which are forced to pay millions of dollars in ransom, WP notes.
Since 2016, the computer networks of the U.S. municipal authorities have suffered damage from over 400 cyber-attacks using ransomware viruses, and their number is only growing. This was reported on Saturday by The Washington Post.
According to the publication, such hacker attacks “have become a disaster for local governments” in the United States. The authorities are limited in budget funds, but they are forced to pay millions of dollars as ransom to extortionists and the restoration and modernization of computer systems. Although more than 400 such attacks have been officially recorded since 2016, the publication notes that their real number may be much more. According to him, the city authorities are trying to save on their cybersecurity, making it easier for hackers.
Ransomware viruses completely block the computer system until the local authorities pay the necessary amount to the criminals, but many do not agree and try to restore the lost data. Cyber-attacks prevent the authorities from responding quickly to emergencies; delay the payment of benefits for several weeks and months even after the payment of the ransom, the newspaper notes.
The publication provides an example of New Orleans (Louisiana), where government officials from December 2019 to February 2020 worked almost seven days a week to restore their computer network after a large-scale attack. The damage caused exceeded $5 million. The elimination of the consequences of a cyber-attack on the local government systems of Atlanta (Georgia) in 2018 cost $17 million, and Baltimore (Maryland) in 2019 – $18 million. The publication emphasizes that the amount of damage has been increasing in recent years, as extortionists increase the amount of ransom.