CYBER NEWS

Washington’s Citywide Network Compromised by a Ransomware Attack

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The city of Washington became a target in the latest ransomware attack conducted in an effort to compromise the city’s entire network.

It is an ominous thought that one could put the entire city’s network into lockdown, requesting a hefty ransom in exchange for people’s personal information. The city itself handed over $416,000 in pursuit of its goal in replacing and modernizing their aging network and equipment. Earlier this month, city administrator Darren Lamb reported the city became a victim of a ransomware attack. Cybersecurity company, The Crypsis Group were hired to conduct tests and investigate the reasons behind the failure of security protocols leading up to the attack.

The city’s council had agreed and approved to pay $140,000 to Crypsis for their investigative and cybersecurity services, however, with little to no money covered by the city’s insurance. There is currently no evidence that has been found suggesting that any of the compromised files or information have been erased from the city’s system. The investigation is still ongoing, and the council is diligently cooperating with Crypsis to resolve the issue and restore all systems and files that have been compromised.

Restoring Washington’s Network in the Aftermath of the Ransomware Attack

Occasionally, malicious attacks can be the harbinger of long awaited modernization of aging inefficient systems. Hence, in the wake of the attack, the ransomware which compromised Washington’s network initiated a fast-tracked motion by the council which will see the city building its own network. Officials are said to have been well aware of the now aging network and had taken measures to replace it with newer more cyberattack-reliable systems slowly. Adequate measures have been taken to quickly address the issues and make the necessary repairs in the wake of the ransomware attack.

Washington city council have contracted Wash PC to help them recover from the security breach caused by the ransomware attack. New equipment in the likes of cables and software are being purchased off Wash PC used in the restoration of the council’s network systems. Wash PC have conducted multiple tests to check the robustness of the network including moving emails from damaged servers to a healthy uncompromised server. The city’s emails were effectively down for a few days, however; emails are now up and running without an issue.

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The new network system is said to be more robust and secure, helping to prevent future attacks. A long overdue transition, however, it has become an urgently necessary one in the wake of recent events and increased ransomware attacks. The new system being put in place has caused some issues nonetheless, with city employees taking note of network outages to The Missourian. The city’s websites www.ci.washington.mo.us/, was also down for two days earlier this month, with complaints that the city’s email system stopped working along with other reported issues.
This should not be of much concern for people’s personal information as those issues are solely related to rebuilding and replacing the old network system. The system is scheduled to be up and running at some point during next week.

Kristian Iliev

Kristian Iliev

Second year student at The University of Edinburgh studying Social Anthropology and Social Policy. Avid enthusiast of anything to do with IT, films and watch repairs.

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