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L.A. is the Hotspot of Cybercrime in the United States

June 14, 2022 ~ Los Angeles is one of the leading targets for cybercrime in the U.S., costing California over $600 million in 2020 alone.

Last year saw multitudes of varying cyberattacks, targeting L.A.’s infrastructure and innocent population.

On January 15, 2021, a water treatment plant that serves the San Francisco Bay Area was hacked. The infiltrator attempted to poison the water supply by deleting computer programs used for water treatment. Using a former employee’s login details, the hacker was able to remotely access the network. The breach was noticed a day later before any damage could be done. Since then, the individual responsible has been identified.

Azusa Police Department was a target of ransomware in early 2021. Discovered on March 9, the scope of the breach was broader than first reported. The stolen data included Social Security, California ID, and driver’s license numbers. Moreover, gang member contacts, crime scene photos, and confidential informants’ information were posted on a dark-web site. 

Later the same year, Planned Parenthood Los Angeles reported a major breach. The hacker compromised over 400,000 patients’ personal data. On October 17, the healthcare provider noticed suspicious activity on their computer systems. They immediately took their network offline. The motive behind the hack still remains unknown.

In the neighboring Orange County, authorities have launched SafeOC. Similar to the national “See Something, Say Something” campaign, SafeOC is an attempt to educate the public on how to protect themselves from these attacks. SafeOC also provides a tip-line for locals who observe suspicious activity online or in person.

Even the Port of Los Angeles has partnered with IBM to create the Cyber Resilience Center (CRC). Ports are prime targets for hackers, as supply chain interruptions can consistently cause damage. Touted as a “system of systems”, the CRC aims to enhance the port’s cybersecurity readiness and recovery from attacks.

On the whole, Los Angeles and its neighbors are implementing sweeping changes to the way their view and act on cyber threats.

Although big businesses are the common targets, there are a few things you can do right now to improve your own cybersecurity.

For instance, using unique passwords for every account and learning how to spot an online scam are fundamental skills everyone should develop.

While browsing the web, especially on a public connection, use a Virtual Private Network like a Surfshark VPN. A VPN disguises personal data from snoops online and on public Wi-Fi.