At least 3 municipalities in Quad-Cities have been victims of cyberattacks. Experts say they are common, but can be avoided. | Local News


Scams are more sophisticated, but strategies can fight cybercriminals

“Municipalities are increasingly a target for cybercriminals,” said Nick Machovec, who works with municipal and commercial clients on cyber insurance for Molyneaux, an insurance agency in eastern Iowa and western Illinois.

This could be because public agencies operate on tight budgets, are understaffed, or may not have enough funds to put up costly defenses against violations of the system, Machovec said.

Since January 2020, the Iowa Auditor’s office has issued four notices to government entities alerting them to potential illegal activity. Three urged municipalities to beware of fake emails. In January 2020, the auditor’s office warned that “several entities” had suffered attempted cyber attacks and described situations similar to Quad-Cities scams. In Iowa, government entities are required to notify the auditor’s office of fraud, abuse of public funds, and scams.

In a more sophisticated social engineering fraud, an email account is compromised months before payment requests are made, allowing crooks to monitor emails and payment requests long enough for agents financiers do not question it, and include company logos and language that does not arouse interest. suspicion.

Although three similar scams have occurred in the Quad-Cities, Machovec says it’s not unusual. When public entities get ripped off, there is usually more publicity because it is public money. Rock Island County held a press conference as soon as they learned of the scam, LeClaire included an agenda item regarding computer theft insurance funds and Moline officials responded to some questions from journalists.


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