Threat Management

GAO: Local ransomware response assistance challenging for feds

Federal agencies have been found by the Government Accountability Office to be struggling to help address ransomware attacks against state, local, and tribal governments due to lacking coordination, according to The Record, a news site by cybersecurity firm Recorded Future. The FBI's lack of response to a nation-state cyberattack against one entity hampered local government efforts to examine the intrusion, prompting the GAO to recommend the FBI, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and Secret Service to clarify with each other and with local governments their responsibilities in cyber incident response. All three agencies lacked a joint agreement on decision-making processes in ransomware assistance, noted the GAO in its report. However, the report showed that technical support offered by federal agencies have yielded benefits for ransomware-hit local governments, particularly those with inadequate experience in handling such attacks. "MS-ISACs assistance shortened the downtime and allowed the county to respond without paying the ransom or a contractor for recovery services," said the report.

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