Ways Hackers Look to Exploit State and Local Governments

Don’t for a minute think that bad actors have no interest in the information you collect in your state or local office. Whether you work for the City Water Department or the Department of Tax and Revenue for your county, you are collecting data that is critical to not only your job – but for all of the organizations and people that work and live within your territory. Even if you aren't employed by these organizations, your personal data may be harbored here. So what are you doing about it? You are just as much a target for a cyber attack as anyone so what are you doing to avoid being the next victim individually or in your work environment?

#1 Human Error

We cannot automate everything to be done perfectly so unfortunately human error comes into play. When working at a company you are given devices and access to different parts of the company depending on the actual job itself. In an office, there is a certain level of trust amongst employees that’s established such as not eating a coworker’s lunch in the fridge or taking items from their desk. The same goes for accessing information on your company’s fileshare or office network.

Maybe you have been granted access to things you don’t normally use or need – but that’s exactly what hackers are looking for and how they dig their way into the sensitive information. If you aren’t safeguarding your logins, using a secure login, connecting from your home network using a VPN you are putting not just your information at risk but dozens of other’s at well.

Complacency is a threat in a work environment as you tend to get lax in the protocols or rules and slip up when it comes to securing that data you’ve collected. This is a reminder to all businesses and government agencies to continue to do security awareness training – no matter how many grievances you hear, the reminders and training will remain more top of mind than if no one were talking about them.

#2 Your Password

This may be something that you hear all the time or may seem obvious—but that means it’s just that important. Routinely changing your password, and avoiding the simple one of “Password123” really does make a difference.

Not only that - but having different passwords for each of your accounts is just as important. If a bad actor figures out your one password, why wouldn’t they test it against all of the other access points you have to the sensitive data you can reach? Don’t have one key for all of the doors you can open. Instead, have many passwords and change them routinely and don’t use information that can be easily found through a search online.

#3 Application and Software Bugs

There are various applications and software that you need to use on a day-to-day basis. This could be a program that is downloaded to your hard drive or that you access via the cloud or internet. Oftentimes, bad actors already know the weak points within these programs that already exist – especially in the software that has been around for decades that is constantly needing software patches or updates to the latest versions.

However, knowing that you have to use certain tools and resources to get things done, are you also aware that bad actors are trying to get into your sensitive data? It’s vital to continuously monitor and apply the software patches to your programs and ensuring your virus protection is in place – though know and understand that that can’t be your only line of defense.

This is just the tip of the iceberg here as we have explored four more ways in which hackers are looking to exploit your work environment. Don’t just hope you are practicing safe security measures – but learn from these tips and experiences that have happened in the more recent past.   

Learn more about Federal Government Cybersecurity

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With over a decade of experience, Core Security’s innovative solutions have helped serve customers across the sector, including civilian agencies, the Department of Defense (DoD), state and international governments, system integrators, and more.