Half of local government bodies said they’ve been affected by ransomware in the past year, with 76 percent hit by cyber attacks

More than three-quarters of local government departments say they’ve experienced internet-borne attacks in the past year, with half saying they were struck by ransomware during the period, according to new figures.

The findings, in a report called ‘Cyber Security: Threats and Opportunities Across Local Government’ compiled by computer security firm Malwarebytes, are likely to raise fresh concern over local government’s ability to function in an ever more hostile online environment.

Ransomware, in particular, has caused increasing disruption to the workings of public-sector organisations on all levels, from the NHS turmoil caused by the WannaCry ransomware earlier this year to smaller-scale incidents affecting councils and other government bodies.

Malwarebytes said the NHS attack showed the disorder that could be caused by “career criminals”.

“Other high profile incidents, such as the ransomware that crippled Lincolnshire County Council, provide further evidence of just how devastating this type of crime can be,” said Malwarebytes’ EMEA vice president Anthony O’Mara in a statement.

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