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Malwarebytes Finds 76 Percent of Local Councils in the UK Have Experienced Cyber-Attacks in Last 12 Months

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Legacy software and a lack of confidence in how to deal with zero-day attacks leaving local councils dangerously exposed to cyber-crime

London – September 20th, 2017 – Malwarebytes™, the leading advanced malware prevention and remediation solution, can today reveal that 76 per cent of local government departments have experienced a cyber-attack (be that malware, a virus or a Trojan) and 50 per cent were victims of ransomware in the last 12 months.

The findings stem from a comprehensive survey carried out by iGov Survey, which took in the concerns of senior figures at 38 local councils across the UK in June 2017.

The report also outlined a lack of understanding regarding cyber-attacks and how to combat them at a local government levelThis has, in turn led to a falling level of confidence in a number of the solutions currently employed to combat cyber-attacks. Most councils labelled their existing legacy systems as inadequate to deal with modern threats.  

Commenting on the report, Anthony O’Mara, Vice President, EMEA, at Malwarebytes said: “The threat of cyber-crime is on the up, driven by career criminals that are highly skilled, innovative and will stop at nothing to target organisations that hold people’s private information. This determination was perfectly demonstrated by the recent WannaCry attack and the devastating effect it had on the NHS. Other high profile incidents, such as the ransomware that crippled Lincolnshire City Council, provide further evidence of just how devastating this type of crime can be.”

“Cyber Security: Threats and Opportunities Across Local Government” top findings include:

  • Councils are a key target for cyber-criminals. 75.76% of those surveyed had experienced malware, virus or trojan attacks in the last 12 months and 50% of those surveyed experienced ransomware in the last 12 months
  • Legacy systems in local councils are a major cause for concern, 72% of respondents said it was either difficult or very difficult to successfully integrate new systems and applications. This illustrates that for many local government organisations old, outdated technology is having a negative impact on managing cyber-risk
  • Concerns with current technology was again raised with one-third of those surveyed stating they are not confident in their current solution’s ability to identify and remove suspicious traffic with the same numberindicating their solution does not protect against zero-day threats including ransomware
    • 52.7% of respondents said that the complexity of cyber threats and the need to keep up with new developments is a concern; a concern that resonates across many private sector firms too
    • The top three concerns for local councils when it comes to a potential cyber-attack are: the loss of sensitive data (53%), financial repercussions (53%) and the expected impact on service delivery (41%)

“It’s clear from these findings that there is widespread awareness of the threat of cyber-crime amongst high ranking  local government officials but many are not yet confident in their ability to deal with it,” O’Mara continued.

“A lack of faith in legacy systems has led to a massive crisis in confidence within local government, which only adds to the vulnerability of these organsiations. This, combined with a very noisy vendor marketplace, has meant many high-ranking government officials are now left confused as to how to best deal with these threats.

“When looking for security providers, they must partner with cyber-security firms that cannot only provide 24/7 evolving protection against these complex threats but also act in an educational and consultative role. This will ensure the full range of cyber-crimes and threats they face can be combated effectively.”

To view the full global “Second Annual State of Ransomware” report for more detailed findings and analysis, visit: https://go.malwarebytes.com/local-govt.html. You can also find out more information by visiting the Malwarebytes stand (B24) at IP Expo on 4 – 5 October at Excel London. 

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