City of Sparks contracts with Arctic Wolf Networks following cyberattacks |

City of Sparks contracts with Arctic Wolf Networks following cyberattacks

Special to the NNBW

Following a wave of phishing and ransomware attacks on the Sparks Police department, the City of Sparks realized it did not have the time or expertise to investigate these growing security threats, react in a timely manner and implement new technology to prevent the workforce from falling victim to similar attacks in the future.

The city announced Monday that it has contracted with Arctic Wolf Networks, a leading security operations center (SOC)-as-a-service company, selecting the company’s AWN CyberSOC for its award threat detection and response capabilities.

“AWN CyberSOC includes everything Sparks needs for a comprehensive security operations.  We looked at solutions from some of the largest IT security vendors and went with Arctic Wolf because it was easy to purchase, deploy and priced in a predictable way,” Steve Davidek, City of Sparks IT manager said in a press release. “To build the equivalent of the service internally would have cost at least 10 times more.”

Sparks’ IT team supports the city’s many administrative offices and public services including the police and fire departments. They have a lean IT team staffed with experienced functional experts but lacked a dedicated security expert.

The cyber security attacks in Sparks could have been a lot worse. The Sparks police department experienced a ransomware attack that could have crippled the department. Once alerted to the attack, the IT team quickly identified all of the compromised endpoints and restored the systems from backups. Though a crisis was averted, the incident was hugely disruptive.

Soon after the ransomware attack, cybercriminals  targeted police officers through spear phishing email attacks. Leveraging social media and other publicly available information, the cybercriminals  launched attacks targeting the highest levels of city government.

What was frustrating to the IT team was that these attacks were bypassing their existing defenses from leading firewall, email security gateway and web security gateway.

The new Arctic Wolf system proved its value immediately upon installation by identifying the transmission of unencrypted passwords to websites, as well as continued phishing attacks on the police and fire departments’ personnel.

Along with each threat identified, the concierge security engineer provided specific remediation recommendations to quarantine compromised laptops and desktops. The solution removed the guesswork from what the team needed to do to address a security lapse.

“Sparks is a great customer, and we are very proud that we are able to help the city’s employees and first responders continue to provide amazing services to their residents securely,” said Brian NeSmith, CEO and co-founder of Arctic Wolf Networks.