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This alarming map of ransomware attacks shows a growing problem for U.S. government agencies

This alarming map of ransomware attacks shows a growing problem for U.S. government agencies
[Photo: Andras Vas/Unsplash]

Ransomware attacks that crippled government computers in cities like Atlanta and Baltimore have drawn national attention, but a new map from StateScoop shows hundreds of state and local government agencies have faced ransomware problems in recent years.

Ransomware attacks generally encrypt data and lock down computers until a ransom demand is met. Depending on the exact technology used, it may or may not be possible to remove the malware and restore data without paying the ransom.

StateScoop, which covers state and local government technology issues, plans to continue to update the interactive map with new attacks as they happen. Almost 100 ransomware attacks have affected state and local governments, including school districts and higher education institutions, so far this year, compared to 51 reported in 2018, StateScoop reports.

IT experts say cities and other entities should keep systems patched and instruct users on how to avoid accidentally downloading malware from phishing emails and other sources. They should also keep carefully isolated backups of data in case it’s necessary to restore from ransomware or other disasters.

You can check out the map here.

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