Social Engineering: How to Protect Your Municipality

Benjamin Franklin once said that the only certain things in life are death and taxes. Unfortunately, cyberattacks are becoming another looming certainty to which we’re accustomed. Cyberattacks against municipalities are increasingly common and more sophisticated—and bad actors are dedicated to uncovering new opportunities to exploit their victims. 

Social engineering cyberattacks are becoming increasingly prevalent, costing municipalities millions annually. According to IBM’s latest Data Breach Report, social engineering attacks cost an average of $4.54 million—this figure does not include the cost of the ransom itself. To make matters worse, data breaches resulting from social engineering attacks can often lead to widespread fraud and identity theft.

Social engineering is especially dangerous because it relies heavily on the human element rather than operating system vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals exploit human errors and behaviors to manipulate individuals into divulging confidential information that is ultimately used to launch cyberattacks.

Social engineers are masters at their craft, often misrepresenting themselves as trusted individuals in your life, including a friend, family member, colleague, or long-term external business partner. They might send you conspicuous messages containing malicious links or downloads. Suppose the sender cannot prove their identity, asserts an unnecessary sense of urgency, or lacks context or relevance in their request. In that case, odds are they are committing fraud using social engineering tactics. 

As with most cyber threats, social engineering schemes continue to evolve and become more sophisticated. However, through targeted education, public entities like yours can equip employees with the techniques they need to avoid the high-stakes risks of social engineering tactics, including preventing costly data breaches.

CIRMA Risk Management offers a Cyber Webinar Series through its exclusive CIRMA member Vector Solutions platform. This robust training and education tool features cybersecurity-related online training courses and webinars proven to educate employees and reduce costly and disruptive cyber exposures.  

Courses and webinars are available for employees to learn at their own pace, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

If you haven’t taken advantage of the many benefits available through CIRMA’s exclusive online training and education platform, contact your local CIRMA Risk Management representative to get started today. There is no additional charge to CIRMA members for this service. Visit CIRMA’s Cyber Center for helpful information on preventing and managing cyber exposures.

Helpful Cyber Resources for CIRMA Members:

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