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How to prevent ransomware attacks against governments

The City of New Orleans is the latest victim of ransomware attacks. Mayor LaToya Cantrell even declared a state of emergency, confirming just how serious this cyber security attack and ongoing threat are.

Once suspicious activity was spotted, servers and computers were shut down. City employees were instructed to disconnect their devices. Emergency communications are fortunately not affected by the cyber security incident, but other departments are now back to working with pen and paper for the time being.

The City of New Orleans is not the first government agency to be hit by ransomware attacks. The state of Louisiana, Texas and Baltimore are just a few examples in the ever-growing list of governments targeted by hackers. Although no demands have yet been made, these kind of cyber security attacks often cost society a lot of money. Even if government agencies don’t give in to the hackers’ demands.

Preventing ransomware attacks

It’s easy to criticize these government agencies for not being careful enough, but we understand the challenge they’re facing. As a company that works with numerous government agencies, authorities and hospitals, we’re often also involved in improving cybersecurity at these organisations. Let me tell you, it’s an ongoing game of cat and mouse. On the one side, you have hackers trying to find new ways to exploit the organisations’ vulnerabilities. On the other side you have organisations who are frantically trying to stay one step ahead. Most of the time, the ‘good guys’ succeed. In some cases, the hackers beat them to the punch.

When it comes to cybersecurity, your employees are both a strength and a weakness. One small error or moment of ignorance might affect the entire company. However, with the right precautionary measures, they can also form your first line of defense. These measures can be the use of strong and different passwords, updating software such as operating systems and antivirus programs and an ongoing wariness of suspicious looking emails. Therefore, it’s important to keep your employees both informed of the latest threats as well as aware of the best precautions by repeatedly showing tips and instructions on how to prevent these kind of attacks.

ransomware attacks exampleIn the end, cyber threats affect us all, especially when they’re aimed at government agencies. To start preventing cyberattacks on your organization, download our free infographic with 10 useful tips to sharpen your employees’ cybersecurity awareness right away. Want to stay up to date on the latest threats, tips and tricks? Follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Together, we stand against cybercrime.

About the author

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Lars Cornelis