Policy Studies Cybersecurity Policy

Enhancing State and Local Cybersecurity Responses


Franklin Lee
Senior Associate, Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties
John Bansemer
Former Senior Fellow
Greg Rattray
Former Associate Fellow

Key Points

Ransomware attacks are becoming more complex and targeted. However, data show that responses are improving despite increasing attacks and an expanding number of targets. That said, these positive trends highlight how state and local organizations should increase their vigilance and add protective measures.

When it comes to ransomware attacks, absence does not mean that there are no vulnerabilities.

Various activities and exercises may help prevent ransomware attacks. For example, table-top exercises provide opportunities for organizations to better understand their vulnerabilities before external actors utilize them to attack their systems.

Press Release

Preparing for the Next Attack: Improving State and Local Cybersecurity Measures

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Executive Summary

The R Street Institute has conducted a study of the challenges associated with improving state and municipal responses to cyber attacks. This study leverages existing reports, interviews with defenders at the state and municipal level, experts studying these challenges, as well as workshops conducted in conjunction with the New York Cyber Task Force. It describes the shape of the challenges and offers recommendations for action to improve state and municipal cyber response capabilities. Further, understanding the associated challenges and extending the work on the recommendations within this report requires significant follow-on efforts. This report seeks to engage and assist those on the front line—governors, mayors, personnel, and state and local governmental organizations. While the federal government and the private sector play key roles, they were not the specific focus of this study.

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