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Public Risk Magazine

PRIMA is updating our flagship publication: Public Risk magazine

Starting in 2020 Public Risk will be condensed to 6 issues; the same great content delivered every other month!

Public Risk provides risk managers with timely, focused information in an easy-to-read format. It features articles from risk management practitioners as well as industry professionals. Articles range from current trends, risk management procedures and guidelines, legislation changes, spotlights and more that will engage your office while keeping them informed!

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October 2019

October cover

Featured Article

Can Cities Survive the Latest Ransomware Assaults?

Public entities and municipalities may be more vulnerable to cyberattacks, but creating a safe computing environment is possible.

By Pat Speer

It doesn’t have to be “Cyber Month” to recognize that the dark side of technology is currently infiltrating self-insured municipalities: ransomware attacks. Ransomware attacks occur when criminals break into an organization’s IT systems, encrypt as much data as possible, and then extort money (usually in Bitcoin) from the organization to get its own data back. If the ransom is not paid, the criminals may release it to the general public, or delete your data altogether.

How does ransomware occur? Criminals make ransomware products and tools available on the “Dark Web” to other criminals and then receive a cut of the “take” if the victims pay the ransom. Both the ransomware purveyors and the attackers who use these products to infiltrate these systems usually operate from countries that the FBI can’t reach.

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Building a Cyber Resilient Local Government

Ways local governments can prepare for, withstand and recover from ransomware and other cyberattacks.

By Thom Rickert

What do Atlanta, Baltimore, Lake City, Fla., and more than two dozen small cities and towns across Texas have in common? The local government of each of these cities recently was the target of ransomware attacks—that is, malware attacks that prevent end-users from accessing a city’s systems and data unless the city pays ransom to hackers. The attack in Baltimore crippled the city’s networks, knocking several essential city services, such as closing home sales and issuing permits, offline. Yet, the city opted not to pay the ransom and instead has incurred costs approaching $18 million for attack-related remediation and new hardware and in lost or deferred revenue. In the case of Lake City, the government there paid a six-figure ransom to restore its phone lines, email and online utility payments.

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Hold Harmless Agreements

A Risk Management Stalwart Revisited

By Joe Jarret

During my public sector career, I have been afforded the opportunity to serve as both a risk manager and attorney. Recently, I was attending a continuing legal education conference when I overheard a group of plaintiffs’ attorneys discussing the demise of hold harmless agreements. They predicted the demise of this stalwart risk transfer device on a 2019 ruling of the Supreme Court of Kentucky (Miller v. House of Boom Kentucky, LLC), which held that liability waivers signed by parents on behalf of their minor children are unenforceable when the party seeking the waiver is a for-profit business. I believe that my learned colleagues were a bit optimistic where public entity liability is concerned. The facts of the case in question are these: 

In August 2015, Kathy Miller took her minor daughter, and her daughter’s friends to play at House of Boom, a for-profit trampoline park located in Louisville, Kentucky, that offers a collection of trampoline and acrobatic stunt attractions. Prior to the children being allowed to participate, Miller was required to agree to an extensive release and waiver of any claims providing that she, her spouse, her minor children, or wards may have or that may arise as a result of participating in any of the activities offered by House of Boom. While playing at House of Boom, Miller’s daughter sustained a fractured ankle when another child jumped off a three-foot ledge and landed on her ankle. Miller filed suit on behalf of her daughter against House of Boom for damages related to her injury. Based on the release and waiver of claims, House of Boom asked the United States District Court for the Western District of Kentucky for judgment in its favor.

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