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NEWS

Opinion: Public sector is prime target for cyber attacks, report shows

Governments, the public sector and healthcare organisations emerge as prime targets of ransomware attacks, according to the latest quarterly cyber threat report by a US security firm.

Targeted cyber-attacks accounted for 59 per cent of all attacks in the second quarter of this year, up from 47 per cent in the first quarter, the report by Positive Technologies revealed.

The news comes on the back of recently reported attacks on US police forces. In late July, the Georgia Department of Public Safety was hit by a ransomware infection that affected state patrol and capitol police. Laptops installed in police cars lost connectivity and access to police information as a result.

At the same time, Los Angeles police officers were reported to be the victims of a serious data breach. Intruders stole personal information for some 2,500 officers and 17,500 officer applicants, including names, dates of birth, partial employee serial numbers and login details for the applicants.

Earlier this year, three websites of the FBI National Academy Associates were hacked, resulting in the leak of personal data for about 4,000 federal agents and law enforcement personnel.

Attacks on the rise

Governments were the targets of 62 per cent of malware infections, up from 44 per cent in the previous quarter, with governments most frequently hit by ransomware, the report said.

For police forces across England and Wales, the NEP designs are an important foundation in helping mitigate risk from these types of incidents and attacks, and it’s why the designs are being adopted so quickly across the policing community.

Cyber criminals are reportedly focusing ransomware attacks increasingly on local government authorities and enterprises because they are more likely to pay higher ransom demands when normal business operations are crippled. The severity and nature of these attacks against the public sector organisations are particularly alarming, but the NEP designs ensure police forces can better protect themselves.

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