Cybersecurity threats have become commonplace for law enforcement, first responders, and other public safety groups, with 93% of organizations experiencing cybersecurity issues in the past year.
That’s according to a report released by cloud platform provider Mark43 on Dec. 8, based on a survey of 343 first responders. The 2023 U.S. Public Safety Trends Report found that 76% of his first responders have concerns that their IT systems are vulnerable to ransomware attacks and data breaches.
At the same time, the majority of first responders have to deal with outdated technology and disconnected systems, 68% of public safety 67% of people have problems. According to reports, it is an inefficient technique.
Larry Zorio, chief information security officer at Mark43, a provider of information systems for law enforcement, says technology can solve many of the problems that currently plague first responders, but most state and local agencies say they do not have the technical expertise to protect such technology from threats. and first response agency.
“Often, these agencies don’t have dedicated security staff who can worry about these issues around the clock and ensure data is backed up and vulnerability scans are performed,” he says. “What [cybersecurity] For the community, these are table stakes — they need to be patched, they need to be scanned for vulnerabilities… but these agencies recognize that they can’t protect themselves from these risks. I’m here. ”
First responder cybersecurity concerns are not unwarranted. In 2019 and 2020, ransomware groups began to seriously target State, Local, Tribal and Territory (SLTT) government agencies. For example, in 2019, 22 town agencies and local government organizations were targeted in coordinated ransomware attacks that disrupted citizen services. Ransomware attacks on local school systems impacted the education of at least 753,000 students in 2019 and 1.2 million students in 2020.
And in 2021, the FBI warned that ransomware spread by the Conti cybercriminal group targeted at least 16 healthcare and first response networks. In September 2022, a ransomware attack disrupted 911 services in Suffolk County, New York.
Target first responders
These attacks pose additional risks to citizens, the FBI said in its 2021 advisory.
“Cyber-attacks targeting networks used by emergency services personnel can delay access to real-time digital information, increase safety risks for first responders, and prevent delays in calling for services. could endanger the public who rely on “Loss of access to law enforcement networks can hamper investigative capabilities and make prosecutions more difficult.”
Information technologists generally believe that ransomware attacks will continue at the same pace. According to a survey commissioned by Ransomware.org, the majority of IT professionals (84%) view ransomware as a serious threat to their business. Additionally, 41% of his IT professionals believe their company is likely to be targeted this year, and 43% believe the threat remains the same.
Delayed adoption of the cloud
For first responders, cybersecurity threats are balanced by slow adoption of technology that could make their jobs and operations more efficient. believe a unified system for reporting will streamline their operations, but only a quarter (27%) of first responder organizations have migrated to the cloud, and two-thirds have not I understand.
Mark43’s research also found that compliance and data transparency are key concerns for first responders. Eighty-six percent of respondents want better crime reporting, and two-thirds of those surveyed want better public transparency.
Government agencies must prioritize technology, data management, and cybersecurity roles. Instead, cybersecurity is often left to untrained IT workers in departments and executives nearing retirement, he said.
“I don’t think the fact that police officers who are trying to serve our community worry about it every day is definitely a concern,” he says. Industry generally needs to help them because it’s not their job.”
The study defined cybersecurity issues as both malicious attacks by cybercriminals and availability issues caused by the attacks.