Duval County

‘They’re softer targets:’ Jax Beach ‘cybersecurity event’ highlights larger concern, expert says

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. — Cyber attacks against companies and even city governments have tripled in the past three years according to a local expert.


“Government entities house our data. A lot of it is sensitive data,” Chris Freedman, the CEO of OnDefend, said. Which makes them a target for potential hackers.

Action News Jax reported on Jacksonville Beach’s “cybersecurity event” earlier this week. The issue forced city hall and city facilities to close down on Monday.

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While a representative for Jacksonville Beach said no personal data was compromised, Freedman said that’s typically what hackers are after. That’s especially the case for smaller municipalities that don’t always have the money to invest in prevention tools and staff training.

“They have less investment, less training for employees, they’re easier targets. The easier the target, the quicker an adversary will go for them,” Freedman said.

Read: City of Jacksonville Beach ‘Information Systems issues’ are ‘the result of a cybersecurity event’

Cyber Insurance policies are also increasing, making what was once plan A now plan B. It’s why OnDefend pushes for more investment in prevention tools and training. Especially with the recent growth of AI, or artificial intelligence.

“It’s going to scale to a much larger degree. It’s only going to get worse from here,” Freedman warned.

In 2019, Action News Jax told you about a cyber attack in Lake City.

Read: Lake City comes under cyberattack, FDLE to assist investigators

St. Johns County lost $1 million to hackers, and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office shut down its systems over a cyber threat.

Read: St. Johns County loses over $1 million to hackers, investigation underway

Read: ‘A huge disruption’: Expert explains impact of Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office system outage

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