Introducing the Spotlight on Cybersecurity, a New Section of California City News

More than 200 US local governments have been hit by ransomware attacks in recent years. This summer alone, localities were hit in Texas, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, and locales in Tennessee, West Virginia, North Carolina and here in California with the City of Lodi. In 2016 a cyber attack hit the Orange County Transportation Authority, costing the agency more than $650,000 and weeks of disuprution. Here at CaliforniaCityNews we have felt this ourselves, as our sites were taken offline for nearly a week earlier this year when our webhosts suffered an attack -- if you're a regular reader we're sure you noticed!

Recent articles in the New York Times and Washington Post have looked at the issue. They report that international criminals have identified small local governments as some of their best marks: "Intelligence officials, using data collected by the National Security Agency and others in an effort to identify the sources of the hacking, say many have come from Eastern Europe, Iran and, in some cases, the United States. The majority have targeted small-town America, figuring that sleepy, cash-strapped local governments are the least likely to have updated their cyberdefenses or backed up their data".

Local governments are at a precarious intersection; lots of senstive data, a need to maintain critical services 24/7, and aging IT infrastructure. The expertise to combat cyberthreats exists primarily in the private sector and local governments are on a steep learing curve of who to trust, what's effective and what the next steps are. 

This is why California City and County News have begun the Spotlight on Cybersecurity, a section of our coverage devoted entirely to news and reosurces in this arena. We are proud to have inital sponsorship from LMNTRIX, a leading cybersecurity firm based in Orange County. We look forward to helping your agencies comabt these new and evoloving threats, and if you have ideas on how we can best cover this issue, or personal experiences to share, please let us know!