#CyberAware about Ransomware

ransomwareImagine your local government’s files and documents held for ransom. The risk is greater than you think, with the number of cyber-attacks by ransomware increasing rapidly.

Ransomware, including Cryptolocker and its variants, is malicious software that encrypts files on a computer as well as files on the network that the user has access to.  Once the files are encrypted, the only way to open them again is with the encryption key. Victims must pay a ransom, usually in a virtual currency such as Bitcoin, to the attacker to obtain the key to their locked files.  Continue reading

The Cost of Transparency

The Effect of Public Records Requests on State and Local Governments

It’s hard to deny the benefits of an open and transparent government. The Public Records Act allows people to request things like video footage, emails, land development records — essentially almost every record that a government produces. The importance of access to government records can be seen in frequent examples across the nation, such as when the San Francisco Examiner discovered that police investigated rapes in upscale Berkeley far more readily than in the crime-blighted neighborhoods of Oakland by systematically examining local government records. Continue reading

Is your local government filing its annual financial report?

NumberReportingBarChartOn January 27, 2016, our Office published a follow-up to a report we issued last year on local government financial reporting. This year’s results show that our outreach efforts have contributed to a greater number of local governments filing their reports as required by law for fiscal year 2014.

Our outreach, provided at no cost to local governments, included training sessions and how-to-file workshops, support from the Auditor’s Office Helpdesk, and improvements in our online filing process. Staff from our Local Government Performance Center offered additional support and workshops.

Of the 394 local governments that did not file, more than half did eventually file, but after the deadline; another 50 started filing but did not complete their report. About 100 governments did not send any data, and 70 of them did not file a report for 2013 either.

The report also addressed the consequences of not filing an annual report, and our plans to help more entities file, including more workshops for governments large and small.

Follow-up Special Report: Promoting Transparency and Accountability