Haverford Township learned first-hand the dangers of a cyberattack, writes Michelle Bond for The Philadelphia Inquirer.
About six years ago, a Haverford Township employee received an e-mail with a questionable subject line but just right enough to be a tease. The worker clicked it.
“And that’s all it took,” said Rick Maclary, the township’s IT director.
A message popped up saying the township would have to pay a ransom to get its computer files back. Haverford didn’t pay. The employee lost contacts and about a month’s worth of data, which the township had not backed up.
“That’s when we really learned our lesson that we had to get more serious” about cybersecurity, Maclary said.
Today, Haverford backs up its important information every few hours.
Ransomware has targeted more than 70 local and state governments so far this year, according to a report by IT security company Barracuda.
Because most municipalities don’t have millions to spend on cybersecurity, they can be easy prey, said Lou Romero, a cybersecurity expert.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has partnered with national groups to urge governments to take advantage of best practices and resources to protect themselves.
Read more about cyberattacks on local governments in The Philadelphia Inquirer here.