Reuters reported that a report from S& P Global Ratings indicates that credit “risks stemming from cyberattacks on U.S. cities, school districts and other municipal bond issuers are likely to grow as the public sector remains an easy target for hackers.”  The August 22, 2018 report entitled “Cyberattacks heighten credit risks in U.S. public sector: S&P” included these comments:

  • The U.S. public sector has broadly and quickly adopted new technologies to provide public services, such as online bill payment systems, but it has had a hard time guarding against increasingly frequent and sophisticated cyberattacks…
  • While S&P has never downgraded a municipal issuer because of a cyber incident, repeated successful attacks can eat away at credits over time by eroding public trust, the report said. That would potentially make it harder for municipal issuers to increase tax rates and take other measures needing public support. 
  • The public sector struggles with retaining information security talent and keeping an aging workforce up to speed on emerging cyber risks, …
  • The transparent nature of government, where information is more accessible compared private companies, makes public entities increasingly vulnerable.

No surprises in this report! But local governments need to be alert to protect themselves!!!

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