Last month DHS (Department of Homeland Security) carried out an initiative of “Cyber Security Awareness Month”. The department collaborated with another organization National Cyber Security Alliance. The basic premise of these initiatives and programs revolves around the concept of ‘shared responsibility’—a phenomenon that has gained recognition due to the increase of cyberattacks especially the risks associated with ransomware strains. Shared responsibility refers to a practice where everyone including individuals, organizations, and governments; all the stakeholders have to do their part to address these threats.
Due to the rising juggernaut of ransomware, particularly those aimed at governments, matters have become worse for everyone. Some of these incidents involve coordinated cyber-invasions at the following crucial infrastructure departments:
- Law enforcement agencies. For instance, early this year, Atlanta’s city systems were hit where police dash cam footages were lost. The footages carried pieces of evidence that affected criminal cases like DUIs.
- Utilities. Later in the year, Onslow county utility had to bear the burden of such an attack. As a consequence, the end user .i.e. the public had to pay a price in the form of weakened services.
- Administrative Services. Many town governments were attacked. In one case, Baltimore’s public safety services were disrupted as the city government had to unexpectedly engage in ransomware removal and recovery.
- Healthcare. This year was notable for healthcare industry for all the wrong reasons. Data of many patients was exposed due to repeated ransomware attacks. For example, Fetal Diagnostic Institute of the Pacific (Hawaii) was ravaged by a ransomware campaign which resulted in putting approximately 40,000 patients at risk!
The above-mentioned examples are just a few drops in the ocean of ransomware cases. Whether we discuss Connecticut’s Judicial Branch breach or the West Haven incident in which more than 20 servers required ransomware removal, there is a rising demand of awareness programs so individuals across all industries and channels can avoid getting involved in similar unfortunate predicaments.