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Ransomware Attacks Target Government, Report Says

More than 70 state and local governments have been targeted with ransomware attacks in 2019, according to data and security firm Barracuda.

Cybercriminals use malicious software, delivered as an email attachment or link, to infect the network and lock email, data and other critical files until a ransom is paid.

Barracuda researchers analyzed 55 ransomware attacks on state, county and local governments that have taken place this year. Of the 55 attacks, 38 were on local governments, 14 were on county governments and three were on state governments. While all types of governments were affected, most victims were small towns or big cities.

About 45 percent of the municipalities attacked had populations of less than 50,000 residents, and 24 percent had less than 15,000 residents, Barracuda concluded. Nearly 16 percent of the municipalities attacked were cities with populations of more than 300,000 residents.

“Smaller towns are often more vulnerable because they lack the technology or resources to protect against ransomware attacks,” Barracuda researchers said.

Below is a recent example of an email-borne ransomware attack, detected through Barracuda’s threat intelligence layers. Email is the most common threat vector for these types of ransomware attacks, but the blast radius can easily reach networks, applications and a wide variety of sensitive and critical data.



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