There isn’t a great official data source available for cyberattacks on government in the U.S. But the data that is available — compiled from news reports by a few intrepid security researchers — shows a pretty clear picture: There’s been a dramatic spike in ransomware attacks on state and local government this year.

Also, that’s nothing new. Government has been experiencing a steady increase in all kinds of cyberattacks for some time now, and the preferred method of attack keeps evolving.

“We try to do a rolling number of total public safety and local government attacks that we’ve found in the past 24 months, and so we’ve watched that continually grow in the past three years,” said Aubrey Larson, a marketing manager at the cybersecurity firm SecuLore Solutions. “We’re now up to 394 … when I first started that number was like 100 in the past 24 months.”

There’s no central authority to which governments report cyberattacks, so the best way to collect nationwide data is through the media. Two cybersecurity firms in particular, SecuLore and Recorded Future, both keep tabs on the stories and produce data from them.

Recorded Future’s data, compiled by Senior Solutions Architect Allan Liska, focuses specifically on ransomware. He’s documented a sudden rise in ransomware attacks this year: There have already been 77 this year, more than in all of 2018. And that’s if you count the coordinated attacks on 22 local governments in Texas as one attack. If all those attacks were counted separately, the number would be in the high 90s.

Ransomware attacks against state and local government

SecuLore’s data, which moves beyond ransomware to cover all kinds of cyberattacks on state and local government, provides some important context to this. The firm provided Government Technology with a rolling 24-month total of attacks going back two years, and the data shows a slow, steady increase that never stops.

The types of attack are constantly shifting. MS-ISAC, which helps public entities monitor and protect against cyberthreats, shows that there is a new trend in cyberattacks practically every year. So ransomware is the big threat right now — but who knows if that will continue?

It should be noted that there are limitations inherent in using media reports to compile data. They can provide ample details, but it’s virtually guaranteed that the data sets are incomplete, because the news media won’t catch every attack, and not all attacks are reported.

“You’ve got to be careful about who you communicate this to, because you could be leading them straight to a vulnerability that they could utilize,” Larson said.

Further, there is a possibility that trends captured in such data reflect the news media reporting on attacks more, rather than an actual increase or decrease in attacks.

But it’s likely the best information available.

Here is a table, current as of Sept. 20, of ransomware attacks on government compiled by Recorded Future.

Date Jurisdiction Type State Ransomware Family Ransom Demand Attribution Paid?
Apr-16 City agency MI Unknown $25,000   Y
Nov-16 City agency CA HDDCryptor $73,000   N
Jan-17 City agency MO Unknown $35,000   N
Jul-17 City agency IN Unknown $1,000   Y
Nov-17 City agency CA Unknown $8,000   N
Apr-18 City agency ME Unknown $400   N
May-19 City agency MA Hermes Unknown   N
Feb-16 County WY TeslaCrypt Unknown   N
Mar-16 County IL CryptoWall Unknown   N
Jul-16 County IA Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-16 County MN Unknown Unknown   N
Oct-16 County OH Unknown Unknown   N
Nov-16 County IN Unknown Unknown   N
Nov-16 County IN Unknown $21,000   Y
Nov-16 County MD Unknown Unknown   N
Jan-17 County FL Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-17 County ID Unknown $30,000   N
Feb-17 County OH Unknown Unknown   Y
Apr-17 County GA Unknown $39,600 Eastern Europe N
May-17 County IL WannaCry Unknown North Korea N
Jul-17 County NJ Unknown Unknown   U
Aug-17 County MN Unknown Unknown   U
Sep-17 County KS Unknown Unknown   U
Dec-17 County NC LockCrypt $23,000   N
Feb-18 County NC SamSam $23,000 Iran N
Apr-18 County GA Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-18 County GA Unknown Unknown   N
Oct-18 County ID Unknown Unknown   N
Oct-18 County IL Unknown Unknown   U
Oct-18 County IL Unknown Unknown   U
Mar-19 County GA Ryuk $400,000   Y
Mar-19 County NC Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-19 County CA Ryuk Unknown   N
Apr-19 County MI Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-19 County UT Unknown Unknown   Y
May-19 County SD Ryuk Unknown   N
May-19 County TX Ryuk Unknown   N
May-19 County TX Unknown $184,000   N
Jun-19 County OH Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-19 County WV Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 County AZ Unknown Unknown   U
Jul-19 County IN Ryuk $130,000   Y
Aug-19 County NC Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-19 County IN Unknown Unknown   U
Aug-19 County NC Unknown Unknown   N
May-18 County NC Scarab $2,500   N
Jul-18 County AK Bitpaymer $400,000   N
Feb-16 County agency CA Unknown Unknown   N
Mar-16 County agency NV Unknown Unknown   U
May-16 County agency AZ CryptoLocker Unknown   N
Dec-16 County agency PA Nymain $1,400   Y
Jun-17 County agency NY WannaCry Unknown North Korea N
Jul-17 County agency IN Unknown $1,000   N
Jan-18 County agency SC Unknown $35,000   N
Jul-18 County agency PA Unknown $6,500   Y
Oct-18 County agency NC Ryuk Unknown   N
May-19 County agency ID Unknown Unknown   N
May-19 County agency KY Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-19 County agency OH Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 County agency NY Ryuk Unknown   U
Feb-16 Court AZ Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-16 Court OH Unknown $2,883   Y
Mar-18 Court CT Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Court GA Unknown Unknown   U
Feb-16 Education SC Unknown $8,000   N
Mar-16 Education MN Unknown $6,000   N
May-16 Education NY Unknown $500   N
May-16 Education OR Scarab Unknown   N
Nov-16 Education MT Unknown Unknown   N
Dec-16 Education MI Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-17 Education IL Unknown $37,000   N
Apr-17 Education MT Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-17 Education SC Unknown $2,900   Y
Dec-17 Education ID Unknown $65,000   N
Jan-18 Education SC Unknown Unknown   N
Jan-18 Education TN Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-18 Education MA Unknown $10,000   Y
May-18 Education OR Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-18 Education CT Unknown Unknown   U
Aug-18 Education MN Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-18 Education FL GandCrab Unknown   N
Nov-18 Education MI Unknown Unknown   Y
Jan-19 Education CT Unknown Unknown   U
Feb-19 Education IL Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-19 Education NM Unknown $5,000   N
Mar-19 Education MN Unknown Unknown   N
May-19 Education OH Ryuk Unknown   N
May-19 Education OK Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Education CT Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Education LA Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Education NY Unknown Unknown   U
Jul-19 Education NY Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Education NM Ryuk Unknown   N
Jul-19 Education AZ Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Education NY Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Education NY Ryuk $100,000   Y
Aug-19 Education AL Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-19 Education OK Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-19 Education CT Unknown < $10,000   Y
Aug-19 Education VA Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-19 Education NJ Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-19 Education AZ Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-19 Education IL Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-19 Education PA Unknown Unknown   U
Sep-19 Education CT Unknown Unknown   U
Sep-19 Education PA Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-19 Education MO Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-16 Education MS Unknown Unknown   N
Jan-17 Education WV Unknown Unknown   N
Dec-16 Education CA Unknown $28,000   Y
Mar-18 Education MS SamSam Unknown Iran U
Mar-17 Miscellaneous PA Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-18 Miscellaneous CA SamSam Unknown Iran N
Oct-18 Miscellaneous IN Unknown Unknown   U
May-19 Miscellaneous KY Unknown Unknown   N
Dec-13 Municipality NH CryptoLocker $300   N
Jan-16 Municipality MA Unknown $300   Y
Feb-16 Municipality NC Unknown Unknown   N
Mar-16 Municipality NY LeChiffre $400 Russia N
Apr-16 Municipality NJ Unknown $650   N
Jun-16 Municipality WI Unknown Unknown   U
Jul-16 Municipality MN Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-16 Municipality FL Unknown $33,000,000   N
Sep-16 Municipality CA Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-16 Municipality TN Unknown $1,000   N
Apr-17 Municipality NJ SamSam $30,000 Iran Y
Aug-17 Municipality MO Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-17 Municipality VT Global 3 $250   N
Oct-17 Municipality CO Unknown Unknown   N
Oct-17 Municipality ME Unknown Unknown   N
Oct-17 Municipality WA Unknown $9,170   Y
Nov-17 Municipality TN Unknown $250,000   N
Dec-17 Municipality WI Unknown $2,000   Y
Jan-18 Municipality NM SamSam $35,000   N
Jan-18 Municipality SD Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-18 Municipality GA Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-18 Municipality GA Unknown Unknown   Y
Mar-18 Municipality AL Unknown $8,000   Y
Mar-18 Municipality CT GandCrab Unknown   N
Mar-18 Municipality CT Unknown $2,000   N
Mar-18 Municipality CT Unknown $2,000   N
Mar-18 Municipality GA SamSam $55,000 Iran N
Apr-18 Municipality ME Unknown $1,000   N
Apr-18 Municipality VA Unknown Unknown   N
May-18 Municipality GA Unknown $320,000   N
Jun-18 Municipality FL Amnesia 3 $1,200   Y
Jun-18 Municipality OH Unknown $4,900   N
Jul-18 Municipality AK Hermes $26,000   Y
Sep-18 Municipality MA Unknown Unknown   N
Oct-18 Municipality CT Unknown $2,000   Y
Oct-18 Municipality IA Unknown Unknown   N
Dec-18 Municipality FL Unknown Unknown   N
Dec-18 Municipality OR PewCrypt $50,000 Romania N
Jan-19 Municipality OH Unknown Unknown   N
Jan-19 Municipality TX Unknown Unknown   U
Jan-19 Municipality WA Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-19 Municipality CT Unknown Unknown   N
Mar-19 Municipality NY Unknown Unknown   U
Apr-19 Municipality CA Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-19 Municipality FL Ryuk Unknown   N
Apr-19 Municipality FL Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-19 Municipality ME Unknown Unknown   U
Apr-19 Municipality NC RobbinHood Unknown   U
May-19 Municipality CA Unknown $400,000   N
May-19 Municipality MD Robbinhood $75,000   N
May-19 Municipality PA Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-19 Municipality FL Ryuk $460,000   Y
Jun-19 Municipality FL Ryuk $600,000   Y
Jun-19 Municipality FL Ryuk Unknown   N
Jun-19 Municipality TX Doppelpaymer $40,000   U
Jul-19 Municipality MA Ryuk $5,300,000   N
Jul-19 Municipality OH Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Municipality TN Ryuk Unknown   N
Aug-19 Municipality TX Sodinokibi $2,500,000   N
Sep-18 Municipality NE Unknown Unknown   U
Sep-16 Public safety HI Unknown Unknown   N
Dec-17 Public safety OH Unknown $11,400   N
Jun-19 Public safety RI Unknown Unknown   N
Nov-13 Public safety MA CryptoLocker $750   Y
Jun-14 Public safety AL Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-14 Public safety NH CryptoWall Unknown   N
Nov-14 Public safety TN CryptoWall $572   Y
Feb-15 Public safety IL Unknown $500   Y
Apr-15 Public safety ME Megacode $300   Y
Feb-16 Public safety MA Unknown $489   Y
Aug-16 Public safety MA Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-16 Public safety TX Unknown $250   U
Oct-16 Public safety PA Unknown $500   N
Dec-16 Public safety MA Unknown $4,600   Y
Dec-16 Public safety SC Unknown Unknown   N
Jan-19 Public safety MD Unknown Unknown   N
Mar-19 Public safety TX Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-16 Public safety FL Unknown Unknown   N
Jun-16 Public safety TN Scarab Unknown   N
Aug-16 Public safety RI Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-16 Public safety FL Unknown Unkonwn   N
Dec-16 Public safety AR Unknown $2,400   Y
Dec-16 Public safety TX Unknown $4,000   N
Jan-17 Public safety MO CryptoMix Unknown   U
Feb-17 Public safety IL Unknown Unknown   N
Mar-17 Public safety IL Unknown Unknown   N
Aug-17 Public safety LA Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-18 Public safety AR Unknown None   N
Mar-18 Public safety MD Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-18 Public safety CT Unknown Unknown   N
Jan-19 Public safety TX Dharma Unknown   N
Apr-19 Public safety GA Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-19 Public safety VI Unknown Unknown   N
Jul-19 Public safety GA Unknown Unknown   N
Apr-15 Public safety MA CryptoLocker $500   Y
Jan-17 Public safety DC Cerber Unknown   N
Nov-18 Public safety NJ Unknown Unknown   U
May-17 Public safety TN WannaCry Unknown North Korea N
Apr-18 Public safety OH Unknown Unknown   N
May-18 Public safety OH Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-18 State CT WannaCry $48,000 North Korea N
Jun-18 State RI Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-16 State agency ND Unknown $350   N
Feb-17 State agency OK Unknown Unknown   N
Sep-17 State agency WI Unknown Unknown   U
Oct-17 State agency TX Unknown Unknown   U
Dec-17 State agency GA Unknown Unknown   N
Feb-18 State agency CO SamSam Unknown Iran N
Mar-18 State agency CO SamSam Unknown Iran N
Mar-19 State agency MA Ryuk Unknown   N
Sep-19 State agency OK   Theft of $4,200,000