Cybersecurity: A Call to Action for Police Executives

Police executives need to understand four things about cybersecurity.

First, there has been a dramatic increase in both the frequency and sophistication of cyber attacks such as ransomware and ad malware attacks that systematically target police systems.1

Second, police executives in both large and small organizations are responsible for the well-being of their entire organization. If their systems are successfully attacked, the media will want the chief’s comments, not those of an information technology (IT) support professional.

Third, a 2013 survey conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police (CACP) showed that, while police executives understand the danger and possible consequences posed by cyber attacks, only a small number have had a third-party audit, which is the most effective way for agencies to test their cyber defenses.2

Fourth, while technology is playing an increasing role in policing, IT suppliers tend to be over-confident in their system’s ability to withstand a focused attack. In fact, one recent study indicates that many organizations have a false sense of security.3