According to an article by Karina Elwood in the Washington Post, in 2020 at least 2,354 local governments, health care facilities, and schools in the United States were affected by ransomware attacks. This past April in the D.C. area alone there were attacks on police, school districts and a sanitation district.
Local governments are easy target because of their small IT departments, aging computer systems and limited cyber security budgets. Schools were especially vulnerable in 2020 because of the switch to online learning during the pandemic.
Beyond disrupting daily operations, attacks cost millions of dollars to recover systems and data. By eroding critical systems these attacks have real world consequences.
While the District of Columbia has added $8 million to its cyber security budget for fiscal 2022, smaller governments do not have the resources to fix their systems. More aid from federal and state governments is needed.