Technology Services • Published 9/25/2019 Cyber Attacks on Government Agencies


Cybersecurity is always a hot topic, and as we look ahead to Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, it’s important to look back at some of the startling cyber attacks in the news this year.

Hot Target: Local Governments

In July 2019, Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency when several Louisiana school districts fell victim to ransomware attacks that locked down computer and phone systems and put data at risk. The following month, more than 20 local governments in Texas were hacked.

Businesses, hospitals, and universities have been targeted by hackers for years. However, attacks on state and local governments are becoming a regular occurrence in the media. Cities of all sizes, including Atlanta, San Francisco, Albany, Baltimore, Newark, and Savannah, have been impacted by cyberattacks. The malicious software spreads across networks, impacting the technology that runs local services, bill payments, tax collection, education, payroll, utilities, and critical services such as police and fire departments.

Agencies that have experienced ransomware attacks in 2019 include:

  • Police departments
  • Schools and school districts
  • Libraries
  • Airports
  • Assessor’s offices
  • Court systems
  • Municipal governments

Preparing for a Cybersecurity Incident

When it comes to preventing cyber attacks, governmental entities struggle with tight budgets, limited (or nonexistent) IT staff, and outdated equipment. Some pay the ransom for an encryption key to access their data, while others spend millions in taxpayer dollars to manually re-enter lost information and restore systems.

Protecting data and systems is a top priority for government organizations of any size, and P&N cybersecurity professionals can help you identify, protect, monitor, and respond to threats. Throughout October, we will publish additional articles to help arm you with information, and our cybersecurity team is always available to discuss the unique circumstances that government agencies face.

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