BOSTON (SHNS) – The Healey administration announced Friday that it will make more than $9 million in federal grant money available to bolster cybersecurity and reduce systemic cyber risks for state and municipal public agencies across Massachusetts as the “threats continue to increase in sophistication and frequency,” the governor said.
The Municipal Local Cybersecurity Grant Program will distribute $7,289,717 to local agencies, including cities and towns, regional school districts and other regional authorities. Each individual applicant can seek up to $100,000 while multiple municipalities can jointly apply for up to $300,000. State agencies can apply for funding through the State Share Cybersecurity Grant Program, which will distribute a total of $1,822,429 with an applicant maximum of $100,000. Applications are due March 8.
“In every conversation I have with a municipal leader, cybersecurity is a top concern, but they either do not have the dedicated personnel or funding to implement the most impactful best practices,” Secretary of Technology Services and Security Jason Snyder said. “Our state agencies and municipal governments will greatly benefit from this grant program, which strengthens the cybersecurity posture from a whole-of-state approach and makes the services we deliver to residents more secure.”
Also Friday, Acting U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Joshua Levy announced that his office was part of an international law enforcement effort that seized internet domains used to sell computer malware to cybercriminals and charged people in Malta and Nigeria for their alleged involvement in selling the malware and supporting cybercriminals.
Federal authorities in Boston seized www.warzone.ws and three related domains, which together offered for sale the Warzone RAT malware – which Levy’s office said is “a sophisticated remote access trojan” that allowed cybercriminals to secretly browse victim file systems, take screenshots, record keystrokes, steal victim usernames and passwords, and watch victims through their web cameras.
“Today, the FBI and our international law enforcement partners dismantled a sophisticated malware service that cybercriminals bought and utilized to infect the computer systems of unsuspecting victims here in Massachusetts, and around the world,” Jodi Cohen, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division, said Friday. “This operation highlights the FBI’s ongoing commitment to unmask and bring to justice anyone who uses today’s technology nefariously. We urge anyone who is a victim of a Warzone RAT intrusion to report it to us at wzvictims.ic3.gov.”