What We Can Learn from the City of Kingman’s Criminal Cyberattack

A massive cyberattack targeted the Arizona City of Kingman’s technology infrastructure in early March. While categorized by officials as a “criminal cyberattack”, it was noted that the city did not lose complete control of their network.

Here’s What We Know About the Attack

The attack caused a string of affects, including requiring many resident services to be temporarily manual, such as timecards and paying bills. It also forced the city to waive all delinquent notice fees until they became fully functional again, as the attack has caused delays and long hold times for residents trying to reach their offices with questions.

The seriousness of the attack was highlighted by the City of Kingman calling in the Arizona National Guard, and a five-person team from their Cyber Joint Task Force (CJTF) spending 325 total man hours working with the City of Kingman to respond to the attack. The CJTF helps state and local agencies find vulnerabilities in their networks to prevent attacks, in addition to responding to cyber incidents that have already taken place. 

Even two weeks after the attack, the City of Kingman was still not able to access key functions including specialized software, files and more sensitive data. The lack of access affected most departments within the city, even weeks after the attack.

Here’s What We Can Learn from the Attack

  1. Understanding the extent of a criminal cyberattack takes time.
  2. Your personal information–no matter what network it resides in–is always at some level of risk of being compromised. In the case of this attack, as with most, the city has a legal obligation to inform any of its customers or internal team members if their information has been damaged or exposed, but it doesn’t change the fact that personal data was compromised. 
  3. Make sure your business has a post-cyberattack plan. Many cyberattacks will take your operations offline. In the case of the City of Kingman, they didn’t even have access to email, turning all customer relations to phone or in-person. Having a contingency plan for your business will limit complete downtime and work to better serve your customers even if your network is temporarily compromised.
  4. Most entities that are attacked–be it a government enterprise or a private business–need outside help in order to contain and identify the source of the attack. In the case of the City of Kingman, the Arizona National Guard and CJTF provided outside support. In the case of most businesses, you will need to recruit your existing IT security team, or a new IT security team if you don’t have one that can fully support you.

Questions about how to avoid being the victim of criminal cyberattacks? Ready to put together a contingency plan in the event you are attacked? At PK Tech, we’re experts in preventing the worst, but also planning for it if it does happen. Get in touch today.