Predictions 2020: Ransomware comes to a town near you
Ransomware attacks on small cities, towns and school districts will accelerate through 2020.
Ransomware attacks on large municipalities like New York and Baltimore have raised public consciousness of cyber risks to public services. Attacks on public services in smaller municipalities and counties are increasing.
While high profile Ransomware attacks on large municipalities have captured headlines, with Baltimore the most damaging in 2019, attacks on smaller municipalities and essential services are occurring as well. Larger cities will take the lesson of Baltimore and invest to prevent complete take downs of municipal services, but smaller cities, counties and towns will not have the resources or expertise to defend themselves against ransomware attacks. Cybercriminals like other criminals are opportunists and will go after the most vulnerable local governments. Consider in the last two years, there have been dozens of 911 emergency services ransomware attacks in small towns and counties as well as some in larger municipalities. We can expect increases in ransomware attacks on local governments and school districts, with attacks on smaller cities, counties and towns dominating.
Since the target list of vulnerable public services is so large and smaller municipalities and other small local government entities do not have the resources to combat the threat of ransomware, states, with federal assistance, should step up to the plate to set the standards, assess readiness, and assist local governments in closing vulnerabilities to public services and critical infrastructure.