“The threat is real” Federal Agency for Cyber ​​Security gives tips for governments and companies [Quad City Times, Davenport, Iowa] – Insurance News Network | Hot Mobile Press

August 1 – One in four companies experience a data breach, Geoff Jenistaa head of the federal cybersecurity agency told a group of city officials and business leaders in Bettendorf.

The cost and frequency of cyberattacks on businesses, local governments and infrastructure have increased dramatically in recent years. The FBI reported that dollars exposed to losses from email fraud, which accounts for the vast majority of cyberattacks, increased by 65% ​​between 2019 and 2021. According to Verizon’s 2022 Cybersecurity Report, ransomware attacks, in which hackers take data hostage and demand payment, have increased by 13%.

In the quad-cities, at least three local governments more than paid out $100,000 email scammers. In all three cases, the criminals sent emails to local government officials, pretending to be legitimate vendors the cities were working with, asking for a bank account change. In all cases, local governments had insurance to cover the losses.

Jenista, the Cybersecurity Information and Security Agency The head of cybersecurity for a four-state Midwest region said the escalating cyber threats are more likely due to greater use of online accounts that attackers could try to access.

“So it’s not like it’s increasing, but it’s become more readily available to these bad people because now they don’t have to smash windows or kick down doors to get in,” Jenista said.

republican US representative Mariannette Miller-Meekswhose staff organized the event said other local institutions have experienced cyberattacks – including Muscat CountyMercy Iowa City Hospitals, Musco lighting and a Ottumwa dental practice.

The Cybersecurity Information and Security AgencyFounded in 2018 to combat physical and cyber threats to infrastructure in the United States USrecently received a grant of congress increase its staff and operations to combat cyber threats to critical infrastructure.

Jenista shared tips on Monday to avoid those losses in an increasingly connected world.

The agency, called CISA, conducts various types of free security assessments to determine the cyber preparedness of local governments and businesses.

Jenista said he did about 60 reviews for Iowa Corporate bodies – mainly county governments. He compared cybercriminals to car thieves, saying that when entities lock their doors, it makes it harder for criminals to control doors to steal their belongings.

Common ways to prevent this are turning on multi-factor authentication — which means adding an extra step beyond a password to make it harder for someone to hack your account, updating software to close loopholes, and Create a response plan so business leaders know what to do in the event of a crisis.

When asked whether companies go to CISA voluntarily or after a breach, Jenista said companies often say they can’t afford to take precautions until after a costly breach.

Cyber ​​insurance premiums have also increased.

“Cyberinsurance is kind of a wild, wild west,” Jenista said.

Jenista said he sees ransomware attacks as the biggest threat to American infrastructure, such as the water supply and energy grids.

Meat supplier JBS who has one Ottumwa location, paid 11 million dollars to hackers in a ransomware attack last year, despite federal agencies including the FBI and CISA warning the company not to pay the ransom.

“A good backup system is much cheaper than 4 million dollars‘ Jenista said. ‘Well, if you’re willing to spend money 4 million dollars on a ransomware event, why not issue $100,000 on a backup solution that you can restore in 30 minutes?”

Phil KirkDirector of CISA’s seventh region, said the agency is focused on communicating the threat of cyberattacks to the public.

“We are speaking to the American public and all levels of government and the private sector, down to the individual level, to explain to people that the threat is real,” Kirk said. “And the simple things they can do to reduce their chances of becoming a victim. And then also to encourage the larger corporations, the private sector, the owners and operators of governments…that they need to think about and look at the incident response plan.”

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