The number of successful ransomware attacks has decreased between January and April 2020 in the US public sector in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. However, researchers recently noted that the trend is reversing as the number of new incidents begins to rise.
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According to the study conducted by the malware laboratory, Emsisoft, the figures show a decrease compared to the 966 establishments that were victims of successful attacks that represented a cost of USD 7.5 billion.
Sharp decline in figures compared to 2019 statistics
However, during the first and second quarters of 2019, only 128 federal, state, health care provider and educational districts were attacked by ransomware groups.
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The research highlights that the lab is beginning to notice a downward reversal, in part due to the lifting of restrictions and employees returning to the offices.
U.S. public sector cyber security remains very poor
Speaking with Cointelegraph, Brett Callow, a threat analyst at Emsisoft, provided us with information on the public sector security infrastructure:
„America must find a way to improve the security of its public sector. In 2019, all but one of the 966 successful attacks in the public sector were simply costly and disruptive encryption events, but in 2020, many also caused data breaches. At least five government agencies and three universities had their data stolen and published this year, and it is inevitable that they will not be the last.
Fabian Wosar, CTO of Emsisoft, also warned:
„2020 does not have to be a repeat of 2019. The right levels of investment in people, processes and IT, would result in significantly fewer ransomware incidents, and those incidents that did occur would be less severe, less disruptive and less costly.
The study states that since November of last year, a growing number of groups, including DoppelPaymer, REvil/Sodinokibi and NetWalker, are stealing data as the precursors to encryption within the U.S. public sector.
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Recently, the United States Secret Service issued a warning about an increase in attacks targeting managed service providers or MSPs. The warning applied significantly to the country’s private sector, as well as to several government entities.
Cointelegraph reported that the UCSF Medical School allegedly paid a ransom of USD 1.14 million in crypto currency to hackers behind a ransomware attack on June 1.