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Ransomware attack teaches value of prevention to East Greenwich town government

Filip TRUȚĂ

December 11, 2019

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Ransomware attack teaches value of prevention to East Greenwich town government

A ransomware attack on East Greenwich has taught the town”s administrator that the costs of a serious breach far outweigh preventative investments.

East Greenwich, an affluent town that serves as the seat of Kent County in the state of Rhode Island, is the latest target in a long string of ransomware attacks on municipal systems across the U.S. this year.

The local WPRI news station reports that a cyber-attack last week knocked out parts of the town”s computer network, with Town Manager Andrew Nota telling reporters the attackers made a “demand” in exchange to free up the data – a ransomware infection.

On discovering the breach, the town”s IT department immediately secluded its network from the outside world to prevent further exposure to the hackers.

“If a municipality or business has in place the necessary up-to-date protections, you can establish an environment where you can greatly limit your loss and not have to consider engaging in a ransom-based negotiation,” Nota said in an email exchange with reporters. “This environment requires an annual commitment to maintain pace with the technology and those seeking to circumvent it.  In my opinion the potential cost from a serious breach far outweighs any preventative investment.”

Indeed, studies consistently show a direct correlation between a strong cybersecurity strategy and a strong cybersecurity posture. In the business world, for example, a Security Operations Center can make a tremendous difference in an advanced cyber attack. According to a Bitdefender survey of 6,000 infosec professionals, the inability to respond quickly and remediate potential threats is the biggest challenge facing organizations that lack security-focused personnel.

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