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6 Real-Life Ransomware Attacks that Shocked Affordable Housing and Public Sector Agencies

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There’s a spine-chilling uptick in cyberattacks—the FBI received a record number of cyber-related complaints last year, with reported losses of over $4.1 billion. A housing organization might not seem like the most lucrative target for a hacker (compared to a billion-dollar private sector business), but criminals are opportunists.

The public sector, including affordable housing organizations and municipalities, is increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks due to the lack of training and IT infrastructure investment. It takes far less effort to breach a small- or medium-sized public sector organization compared to a global mega-corporation. The monetary reward might not be as high for hackers, but there’s less risk of being caught.

The examples below show the impacts of ransomware attacks on housing organizations and the public
sector:

  • An attack on a housing organization left 700 employees and some 55,000 residents temporarily
    without access to the organization’s web portal. The hacker also leaked information about dozens
    of employees online.
  • A cyberattack infected an entire county, taking the county’s systems offline, according to the FBI.
    The county had backup servers, but the servers were also hacked because they weren’t isolated
    from the county’s main network. The county paid a $132,000 ransom, the FBI noted.
  • Hackers infected a city’s systems and demanded a $76,000 ransom. While the ransom wasn’t
    paid, according to the FBI, it cost the city an estimated $9 million to remediate the attack and
    restore services.
  • A housing organization had its financial data held hostage at a time when the data was necessary
    for reporting. The housing authority decided not to pay the ransom. The hack still cost the housing
    authority “both time and stress.”
  • A county’s computer systems were infected after a user allegedly opened a malicious email link or
    attachment, according to the FBI. County officials decided to rebuild their systems rather than pay
    the $1.2 million ransom. The county spent $1 million on new equipment and technical assistance,
    the FBI said.
  • A housing organization experienced two successive ransomware attacks, which the organization’s
    leader described as “a nightmare.” The attacks forced the organization’s employees to retype and
    scan documents to recoup encrypted files.

Ready to go on the offensive against cyber threats? Our website is packed with free cybersecurity resources. Contact an account manager to learn more about your cyber liability coverage options.

 

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Andrew Ragali

About The Author

Andrew Ragali is a senior marketing specialist at HAI Group. His core focus is the development of compelling and informative content to help HAI Group's clients navigate insurance and risk management in the affordable housing industry. Send Andrew your ideas, questions, and thoughts: aragali@housingcenter.com

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