MS-ISAC official: Ransomware top priority

MS-ISAC said malware infections were on a “continuous incline” between October 2015 and May 2016, although there was a slight decline in June 2016.
MS-ISAC said malware infections were on a “continuous incline” between October 2015 and May 2016, although there was a slight decline in June 2016.

Ransomware threats targeting government IT systems nationwide at the state and local level are steadily increasing.

At its peak, Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center (MS-ISAC) Senior Director of Operations Gina Chapman said her organization detected 450 infections per month, speaking at the National Association of Counties' Chief Information Officer Forum in Long Beach, Calif., according to Statescoop.

Chapman said infections were on a “continuous incline” between October 2015 and May 2016, although there was a slight decline in June 2016.

Nevertheless, she warned agencies to keep their defenses up as attacks traditionally increase in the summertime.

“Ransomware is our No. 1 type of malware right now that we're seeing,” Chapman said at the conference.

The data of Symantec Director of Product Management and Security Response Kevin Haley, who spoke alongside Chapman at the conference, supported Chapman claims and said his firm spotted 100 new and unique variants of ransomware.

Both Haley and Chapman reportedly agreed that backup files are the best way that government agencies can prepare for the attacks. 

“Everybody's writing new malware to go out and get us held hostage,” Haley said at the conference.

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