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Four Stories of Hacked Cities That Made Headlines

According to reporting from the National League of Cities (NLC), only 25% of local governments have a cybersecurity strategy in place. Cybersecurity is the key to protecting city residents from ransomware attacks, hacks, and more. Whether big or small, cities that fall subject to these attacks can experience dire consequences. Check out some examples of hacked cities that recently made the news.

Frankfort, Kentucky

The City of Frankfort recently fell prey to a cyberattack on their servers. The cybersecurity incident has caused downtime for several of their systems. This attack is still under investigation, but it is a prime example of how a city can benefit from an endpoint security service, which offers several benefits including minimizing the risk of downtime.

Ellensburg, Washington

In December 2020, the city of Ellensburg was the victim of a ransomware cyberattack that caused downtime for several affected systems. This prevented access to city data and network drives for several administrative and financial services, which included payroll and utilities.

Ontario, Canada

The Regional Municipality of Durham, which is located in southern Ontario, recently released a statement explaining that they were victims of a cybersecurity attack. It compromised documents from the Durham paramedic service that listed patients’ names, addresses, dates of birth, and healthcare numbers. A separate document that was accessed during the attack listed the names of Durham Region students, their guardians and/or mothers, and phone numbers. The cybercriminals threatened to publicly release this information, thereby threatening the PII (personally identifiable information) of several residents. The Durham Region provides regional services to eight local municipalities that have a combined population of about 650,000. In this scenario, the Durham Region could have benefitted from an advanced managed firewall service that provides an added layer of security to help prevent third-party cyberattacks.

Chicopee, Massachusetts

Chicopee Comprehensive High School, located just under 100 miles from Boston, was victimized by a hacker that accessed the city’s public school email system. The hacker used this access to email students, parents, faculty, and staff that improvised explosive devices (IEDs) were placed in ten classrooms throughout the school. Several hundred students, faculty, and staff were placed on lockdown while local authorities searched for the IEDs. While authorities were later able to confirm IEDs were not present, officials are currently investigating the origin of the email. Perhaps the school could have been in a better position today if they had a cybersecurity program in place that allowed them to quickly discover, prevent, and recover from cyber threats.

The hacks in these cities range from impacting a few hundred to several thousands of residents. In each case, these cities could have benefitted from cybersecurity solutions that accommodate cities both big and small.