Regardless of the country, local autonomy is essential to the lives of many citizens. We provide many daily services and deal with various issues. Therefore, in the event of a security failure, the impact can be far-reaching and deep.
In early 2023, in Oakland, California, victim of ransomware attack. City officials haven’t said how the attack happened, but experts say it’s most likely caused by a phishing email. As a result, city officials took down the server to thwart the attack.
Governments have been the target of many ransomware attacks and breaches. Most local governments maintain small IT staff, which can lead to password sharing, credential reuse, and lack of multi-factor authentication security, exposing vulnerabilities for breach.
Auckland is compromised
The phenomenon was first observed on a Wednesday night in early February. At that time, the city of Oakland, California, immediately took most of the services’ backend servers offline and posted a message on the city’s website. just a few days later local emergency declaration has been issued. In addition to several offices being closed, many services such as Oak311, Parking Citation Assistance Center, Business Tax Licenses and Permits remained suspended for some time.
The Play ransomware group claimed responsibility for intruding on city services and posted about the hack on the group’s website. The first release made 10 GB of data available with decades of files. The second major breach compromised up to 600 GB of data.
The impact of the security breach went beyond disruption of city services, affecting both Aucklanders and city officials on an individual level. Between July 2010 and January 2022, city officials were notified that personal information may have been compromised. Additionally, certain residents of Oakland may also have been affected, such as those filing lawsuits against the City of Oakland or applying for federal programs through the city.
As expected, this ongoing situation is a nightmare for both IT services and city administration, and a public relations nightmare. Many concerned citizens continue to wonder how they will be affected and how they can protect themselves from identity theft.
Impact of breach
System compromise is serious. In this case, the data was encrypted and the service was rendered unusable. However, if the infrastructure is compromised, attackers could use that access to further infect city residents and employees. The Oakland breach may have been limited to data loss, but it could have been worse, depending on the group responsible.
The city’s IT service jobs are already difficult due to generally low budgets and overworked IT staff. The myriad of security vulnerabilities that common software must track and the difficulty of staying on top of ever-changing threats make IT’s job even more difficult. It is therefore important to implement policies and procedures that go a long way toward ensuring the safety and protection of local governments.
Underpinning so many services are passwords and policies that control access to critical services.General best practice guidelines such as NIST 800-63BISO 27001/27002and SOC2 Make sure your organization is prepared for success. Implementing these standards is difficult, but tools like Specops password policies with password breach protection make life much easier for the beleaguered IT professional.
Protecting Users with Specops Password Policy and Violated Password Protection
Maintaining best practices and standards is difficult. Fortunately, tools like Specops Password Policy are available in Active Directory to enforce stronger password policies, meet security compliance standards, and block the use of over 3 billion known compromised passwords, protecting users from ransomware attacks by organizations like Play.
Specops Password Policy offers a variety of features to help keep your organization safe. These include custom dictionaries, customizable unique password policies, and strong protection against password cracking.
Protect your city from ransomware
The ongoing challenges facing Oakland, California, are daunting for both residents and city officials. The unknown threat of how stolen information can be used for further hacking and identity theft causes anxiety and fear to many. By implementing measures to proactively protect government agencies using tools like Specops Password Policy, you can limit the scope of attacks and strengthen your security defenses.