Cities and towns continue to be a profitable target for successful ransomware attacks. As we previously reported [view related posts], the list of cities and towns getting hit with ransomware attacks continues to grow.

Last week, Jackson County, Georgia admitted that it paid hackers $400,000 to obtain access to its information that was locked down by a ransomware attack. The ransomware attack locked agencies out of almost all of their systems, including the sheriff’s office that does criminal bookings, causing the county to try to do business the old-fashioned way—using paper.

According to the County Manager, rebuilding the networks from scratch (apparently there was no back-up system in place), would be a long and costly endeavor. The City Manager said they were facing closure of operations for many months, so paying the ransom was an easier option.

After payment was made, the hacker sent the decryption key, which allowed county employees to get back on their computers and resume work. The ransomware involved was Ryuk, which has been rampant and is believed to originate from Eastern Europe or Russia.

The message to state and municipal governmental entities? Check that back-up system and test it to see if it works in an emergency.

View Original Source
Photo of Linn Foster Freedman Linn Foster Freedman

Linn Freedman practices in data privacy and security law, and complex litigation. She is a member of the Business Litigation Group and chair’s the firm’s Data Privacy and Security Team. She currently serves as general counsel to the Rhode Island Quality Institute. Linn focuses her practice on compliance with all state and federal privacy and security laws and regulations, as well as emergency data breach response and mitigation. She counsels clients on state and federal data privacy and security investigations and data breaches. Prior to joining the firm, Linn was a partner at Nixon Peabody, where she served as leader of the firm’s Privacy & Data Protection Group. She also served as assistant attorney general and deputy chief of the Civil Division of the Attorney General’s Office for the State of Rhode Island. She earned her J.D. from Loyola University School of Law and her B.A., with honors, in American Studies from Newcomb College of Tulane University. She is admitted to practice law in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Read her full bio here.