RSA CONFERENCE2020 – San Francisco – Nearly 75% of government employees are concerned about the potential for ransomware attacks against cities across the United States, but only 38% of state and local government workers are trained in ransomware prevention, according to a new report.
The “Public Sector Security Research” study, conducted by IBM and The Harris Poll, surveyed 690 people who work for state and local agencies in the US. One in six said their department was affected in a ransomware attack. Despite this, half didn’t notice any change in preparedness among their employers. More than half (52%) of IT and security professionals polled said their budgets for handling cyberattacks have remained stagnant this year.
Some sectors are top of mind for ransomware threats. The study found 63% of respondents are worried a cyberattack could disrupt the 2020 elections. Most government employees place their local Board of Elections among the three most vulnerable systems in their communities.
Public education is another area of concern, ranking as the 7th most targeted industry, according to IBM’s X-Force Threat Intelligence Index, up from 9th the year before. Ransomware affected school districts in New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Louisiana, and other states in 2019. Forty-four percent of respondents from the public education sector said they didn’t have basic cybersecurity training; 70% hadn’t received sufficient training on how to respond to an attack.
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