It’s not a good thing when there are so many major businesses being hacked that they don’t elicit much news coverage. There is an online shopping site, Poshmark, that was hacked very recently, but I’m not writing about that tonight.
What I’m writing about instead is bigger. I’m writing about cities being hacked. In what seems to be a serial effort, Naples, Florida, was hacked, making it the fourth Florida city to be hacked in less than two months.
Sunshine State Hacked
Naples city manager Charles T. Chapman IV has confirmed that $700,000 was stolen from the city that was targeted in what they believe is a spear-phishing scheme.
In these cyber-attacks, hackers send emails and make them appear to come from a trusted source. Businesses and individuals who perform wire transfer payments are targeted in what is called a “business email compromise.” The FBI said citizens of Florida lost $82,979,768 to spear-phishing in 2018.
A news release of the recent hack states, “The funds were paid to a fake bank account the attacker provided while posing as a representative from the Wright Construction Group.”
This was money that was owed to the construction company for a renovation project to improve water utilities this summer.
“We take cybersecurity very seriously. We actively train our employees to identify cybersecurity threats. In today’s business environment, it is not a matter of if you are going to be attacked, it’s a matter of when are you going to be attacked,” read a statement from Chapman.
“Despite our best preventative measures, the City of Naples is now a victim of a cyber-crime.”
While the city is working with authorities to solve this, has filed claims and has also paid Wright Construction what was owed to them, they also want their residents to know nothing else seems to have been compromised.
“The City’s data systems are safe and secure,” explained Chapman. “This attack was not malware or ransomware, no data breach occurred. The City has and will continue to make improvements to our information technology systems.”
But this isn’t the summer’s first hack in Florida. Riviera Beach, Lake City, and Key Biscayne were all hacked in June. While the latter did not say if a ransom was involved, Riviera Beach paid $600,000 in ransom, and Lake City paid $490,000.
But those hacks seem to be small potatoes compared to what happened in Baltimore, Maryland. A mere $76,000 ransom was demanded, but the city refused to pay it. In the end, it cost more than $18 million for them to wrest control of the city from the hackers.
This just shows anyone can be hacked. If a nefarious individual or entity thinks they can taken advantage of you, they will. And cities have just as much to protect as private citizens do, if not more. Now that it’s become a trend, it’s just one more cyber crime authorities need to be on the lookout for.
How do you think cities can protect themselves so they don’t fall victim to this growing trend of being hacked? Tell us in a comment what you think of the trend as well as the Florida attacks.