IBM’s Local Government Ransomware Study: Key Takeaways


September 19, 2019
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Recently IBM decided to weigh in on the recent uptick of ransomware attacks on local municipalities.

IBM polled 2200 adults (between the ages of 18-55+) across the United States and asked them a series of questions.

Highlights include:

  • 50% of those polled had ZERO clue what ransomware is and only 17% considered themselves familiar with it.
  • After being briefly educated on the manner, 76% of Americans were concerned about the threat of ransomware to cities across the US.
  • 56% of Americans disapproved of their local government using tax dollars to pay a ransomware hackver.
  • More than half of the Americans polled would not be willing to pay additional taxes to protect their city, county or town from attack.
  • 49% of Americans view the federal government as having the greatest responsibility to protect cities from ransomware attacks. 22% see it as a state-level responsibility and 28% view it as the responsibility of the local government
  • 88% of Americans believe in increasing federal funding for local governments.

Additional Tidbits:

  • More than 30% of respondents would not be willing to pay any amount of ransom to help 911 services, police departments or public schools.
  • Older respondents (those more familiar with ransomware) who lived in cities with a population larger that 50,000 were much more likely to be concerned about the threat of ransomware to their city, county or town.
  • Less than half of those who are familiar with ransomware believe their town has the infrastructure necessary to handle a ransomware attack.

Ultimately it’s an interesting report. You can read it here for free:

It was…insightful as to why ransomware attacks against municipalities might be more prevalent. The towns aren’t just under prepared for an attack but the residents they support aren’t necessarily interested in changing that anytime soon.

We’ve been covering them for sometime here on the Security7 Network blog:

– Kentucky School District Recovers $3.7 Million Stollen During Phishing Scam

– City of Tallahassee Payroll Hacked. Thieves Steal $498,000

– City of Albany NY Attacked by Ransomware!

– Jackson County, GA Pays Cybercriminals $400,000 to Unlock Computers After

  Ransomware Attack.

– It’s Groundhog Day, Again: 22 Texas Towns Hit With Ransomware

– 7 Steps a Municipality Can Take to Avoid Cyber Attacks

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Carl Keyser is the Content Manager at Integris.

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