I’m sure many readers can vividly recall the days when we used rotary phones and most transactions, such as depositing a paycheck or paying bills were done with a piece of paper and a pen. Those days are no more. Nearly everything we do is done online or in “cyberspace.” So how does this concern us and influence who we elect?
Think about the recent news concerning ransomware. These are cyber attacks that have shut down networks like those used by small towns and municipalities – think Bealeton or Fauquier County – or hospitals and schools, until a ransom is paid. Once it is successfully paid, the users are allowed access once again to vital networks.
Recent examples include attacks on 22 municipalities in Texas, many of which were small local governments, several school districts in Louisiana, and the 2018 attack on the Ohio Hospital System which shutdown the emergency room operation of the Ohio Valley Medical Center.
Forty-five percent of ransomware attacks target smaller town governments like ours because they lack the technological knowhow to protect themselves. Two smaller Florida municipalities, Riviera Beach and Lake City, paid out more than a combined $1 million. It affects our pocketbooks and the services we receive. It costs our local government in resources and revenue.
This is our frightening new reality and, like it or not, we are vulnerable. How can the right leadership make a difference as we move further into this new age?
We need to elect leaders who understand the threat, can anticipate it, and know how to effectively deal with it. One such leader is Laura Galante here in the 18th District. Galante is an expert in cybersecurity who has overseen efforts to successfully identify and defend against threats in cyberspace both at home and abroad.
There is so much more to say about Galante and her leadership. She is also knowledgeable on agricultural issues and wants to find new ways to support our local farms. She’ll work to improve our rural community through better healthcare, broadband accessibility, and education initiatives. We will hear more in the coming weeks, but please take the time to look at her website and see for yourself: galantefordelegate.com. She is truly the right leader for District 18 and our state, at the right time.