Ransomware attacks on the United States, state and local governments since 2013 and are increasing at an alarming rate. Research ransomware attacks on three federal or state jurisdictions, with one of them being the City of Baltimore. For this assignment, you are to describe ransomware, what impact did these attacks have on the three jurisdictions in terms of cost and lost revenue, did these municipalities pay the ransom amount demanded or did they try and recover from the attack without paying the ransom. If so, how much did the data recovery cost the municipality, and lastly, what would you do if you were the governor or mayor of this ransomware attack…pay or not pay. This paper should be at least three pages long, double spaced, with your name, date, and title included as a header, page numbering in the footer in the form of page x of y, and have references cited per APA formatting guidelines. You must use a minimum of five references and none of them can be Wikipedia.

Ransomware attacks have become a significant threat to the United States, state, and local governments since 2013, and their frequency is rapidly increasing. In this paper, we will examine three ransomware attacks on federal or state jurisdictions, one of which will be the City of Baltimore. The aim of this assignment is to provide a comprehensive description of ransomware, analyze the impact of these attacks on the jurisdictions in terms of cost and lost revenue, determine if the municipalities paid the ransom, and discuss potential responses if we were the governor or mayor faced with a ransomware attack.

Ransomware is a type of malicious software that encrypts files on a victim’s computer system, rendering them inaccessible until a ransom is paid to the attacker. These attacks often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software or use social engineering techniques to trick individuals into clicking on malicious links or downloading infected files. Once the victim’s files are encrypted, the attacker demands a ransom, typically in the form of cryptocurrency, in exchange for a decryption key.

The impact of ransomware attacks on government entities can be severe, both in terms of financial losses and the disruption of essential services. In the case of the City of Atlanta, which suffered a ransomware attack in 2018, the cost of recovery exceeded $2.6 million, including expenses related to emergency response, IT support, and system remediation. This figure does not account for the indirect costs of lost productivity, reputational damage, and potential lawsuits from affected citizens.

Similarly, the City of Baltimore experienced a high-profile ransomware attack in 2019 that affected critical city services, such as the ability to process payments and issue permits. The attack cost the city an estimated $18.2 million in damages and lost revenue. Despite the demands of the attackers, the City of Baltimore chose not to pay the ransom. Instead, they invested significant resources in recovering their systems, which included rebuilding their IT infrastructure, improving security measures, and restoring data from backups. While the exact cost of the recovery efforts is not publicly available, it is clear that these expenses were substantial.

In the case of state jurisdictions, the impact of ransomware attacks can also be significant. For instance, the state of Louisiana faced a series of ransomware attacks in 2019, targeting various agencies and parishes. These attacks resulted in estimated recovery costs of over $1 million. However, the state did not pay the ransom and instead focused on restoring affected systems and enhancing cybersecurity measures.

If we were the governor or mayor faced with a ransomware attack, the decision on whether to pay the ransom would be complex and dependent on several factors. Paying the ransom could potentially provide a quick solution to regain access to critical systems and minimize disruption. However, it also creates moral hazards by incentivizing future attacks and funding criminal activities. Additionally, there is no guarantee that paying the ransom will result in the full restoration of the affected data.

Instead, we would prioritize prevention and preparation by investing in robust cybersecurity measures, performing regular backups of critical data, and conducting employee training on recognizing and avoiding phishing attacks. Furthermore, we would work closely with law enforcement agencies, cybersecurity experts, and other affected jurisdictions to investigate and prosecute the attackers. By taking a proactive approach and investing in defense strategies, we can mitigate the risk of ransomware attacks and better protect our jurisdictions from future incidents.

In conclusion, ransomware attacks pose a significant threat to government entities, with severe financial and operational consequences. While the impact of these attacks on the three jurisdictions discussed varied, the costs incurred, both in terms of recovery and lost revenue, were substantial. None of the municipalities paid the ransom, instead opting to rebuild their systems and enhance security measures. If we were in the position of a governor or mayor faced with a ransomware attack, we would prioritize prevention, preparation, and collaboration, aiming to mitigate the risk of such attacks and their potential ramifications.

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