Oryx Fairbanks profile picture

Oryx Fairbanks

Marketing Manager

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

They say time heals all wounds… Evidently, “they” haven’t experienced the interminably damaging effects of ransomware, like the attack that occurred recently in Sammamish, WA, just a short drive from Tempered Networks.

The hack was actually discovered several months ago on January 23, and although the effects of the malware have been mostly neutralized at this point, there are still some issues requiring remediation. Unfortunately, this is far from an isolated incident. In fact, more than 20 such attacks have been successfully launched against various local governments this year already.

Consider, for instance, another case of malware, known as RobbinHood, on the city of Baltimore, MD, which crashed email servers and disabled online payments to many city offices. There is good news, however, for Baltimore residents… property tax bills are expected to be issued on time!

What’s the big deal, you might ask? Some emails were lost, and people couldn’t pay their bills online right away. Well, according to WBALTV, “Finance officials estimate the cost of the ransomware attack will be $18 million: $10 million for the repair and rebuild of the city's systems and $8 million in lost revenue in interest and penalties.”

In case you’re not sure, $18 million is a lot of money to a city government. As a resident of Baltimore, would you prefer the city pays that money to recover its systems, or would you rather they invest that money into their schools, road repair, or even feeding the homeless? Replacing the city buses with a fleet of government-issued Tesla SUVs would be more financially palatable.

Cost is where ransomware hits its victims particularly hard. In the case of the RobbinHood malware, the demand was for 13 bitcoins (currently valued at around $100,000). Why not just pay the ransom? After all, $100,000 is still cheaper than $18 million, correct? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple.

Hackers invade critical infrastructures in Baltimore and Sammamish with randomware

According to the FBI’s Ransomware Prevention and Response unit, “Paying a ransom to online criminal actors is not recommended, chiefly because it does not guarantee any data or access will be recovered or repaired.”
If paying the ransom isn’t an option and the cost of suffering such an attack is so damaging, what can be done? The answer is almost laughably simple:

Prevent the attack from happening in the first place.

What was once seen as hopeless is no longer unachievable. Ransomware doesn’t need to be a high risk certainty to the networks of municipalities or any other industry. We have the technology to defend against hackers and all the malware they can muster.

Identity-Defined Networking (IDN) provides ironclad security and powerful connectivity in a cost-effective and entirely scalable manner. The key to IDN is in the cryptographic identities that enforce a zero-trust policy of authentication and authorization. In short, if the device isn’t whitelisted, it isn’t going to be a part of your network. If only everything were so simple.

In closing, a lot of time has passed since the attacks on Sammamish and Baltimore, and those cities are making steady progress to a full, but costly recovery. Why subject yourself to such a fate, however. Implement an IDN solution from Tempered Networks today, and put time back on your side for innovation instead of healing unnecessary wounds.

We’re securing and connecting government systems and critical infrastructures around the world as you read this.

The alternatives are costlier and time consuming – and preventable.

For more information about how we can prevent ransomware from infiltrating your systems, request a demo today.