Cybersecurity: The New Crimefighters

Cyber attacks such as the one on Atlanta, Georgia, are a reminder that local governments need to develop new defenses to safeguard local government assets.

BLOG POST | Mar 30, 2018

by Cory Fleming, senior technical director and program specialist, ICMA 

This month, in an article citing ICMA, The New York Times reported on a major hacking and ransomware attack on the city of Atlanta, Georgia. For five days, city leaders and employees, nearly 8,000 people, did not have access to their computer networks. Even when the computers were allowed back on, there were still such systems as online payments that were not working properly. 

People realize that new advancements in technology are creating an exciting new economy. From 5G networks to artificial intelligence to autonomous vehicles, this new economy promises a future that many might see as a work of science fiction; however, with this new economy also comes a new wave of criminals. Incidents of malware, ransomware, identity theft, and more continue to increase. As Atlanta and other jurisdictions worldwide have discovered, no one, including local governments, is immune to these attacks.

So how should local governments respond? They need to identify new crimefighters to help protect all local governments' digital assets. From network security training for all employees, to routinely backing up all data, to purchasing network liability insurance, our new crimefighters will need access to both human talent and digital resources to combat these attacks.

ICMA has partnered with its strategic partner Microsoft to produce a report to help local government managers fight cyber attacks. In addition to featuring the results of a national survey on local government cybersecurity practices, the report includes illustrative case studies and a guide for local governments developing cybersecurity plans for their organizations. ICMA wants to thank the local government chief administrative officers, chief information officers, and their staff members who helped contribute to ICMA's cybersecurity research. 

Related Resources 

ICMA Survey Research: Cybersecurity 2016 Survey. On this page, you can download the full results of ICMA's Cybersecurity 2016 Survey.

Cybersecurity: New Data and Resources. This article from 2017 provides highlights of the cybersecurity survey as well as other ICMA cybersecurity resources. 

Expert Interview: Cybersecurity Awareness Training for Local Government Employees. In February 2018, ICMA interviewed the city manager and the IT director of Battle Creek, Michigan, on their best cybersecurity practices. 

3 Tips for Forming a Computer Emergency Response Team. This blog post looks at one way that communities can react after a cyber attack has taken place, which is by creating a computer emergency response team. 

 

 

 


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