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Malware Attack Takes Remote Community Back in Time

January 23, 2019 Leave a comment DRI Admin

The lesson here could be “You’re never too small or too remote to be hit with a cyber attack.” As a result, this small Alaskan village found out just how cyber-reliant it really was.

In July 2018, the Alaskan borough of Matanuska-Susitna – a rural area that’s home to some 100,000 people – was hit with a malware attack that spread through its computer networks. When an anti-virus program flagged unusual activity on some of the borough PCs, they followed the typical procedure of changing passwords and attempting to clear out the suspicious software.

Instead, a second attack was triggered, locking hundreds of employees out of their workstations, and in some cases demanding ransom payments. That’s not all. Among the other dominos to fall as a result:

  • local libraries were quickly warned to turn off their public computers to avoid losing patron registries and data
  • the area animal shelter lost access to its stray pets’ and livestock’s medication data
  • the online booking system for swimming lessons closed, and
  • computers used at the sewage system went down.

While borough employees had to go back to using electric typewriters and filling out forms with pen and ink, IT staff worked up to 20 hours a day, ultimately checking and scrubbing more than 700 devices. The total cost – so far – has been more than $2 million. Though clues point to a targeted phishing attack as the cause, the who and why of the case remains unknown.

DRI will soon offer an exciting new course and credential in Cyber Resilience. Cyber Resilience for the Business Continuity Professional is an information-packed four-day experience that will provide an understanding of how to address cyber disruptions within a business continuity framework.

You’ll discover how business continuity and cybersecurity must integrate within every organization, using the five elements of cyber resilience: prepare/identify, protect, detect, respond, and recover. Collectively, these concepts and the resulting action plans will help to develop a strategy to effectively respond to unforeseen events and get your organization back up and running as quickly as possible. Click here to learn more about the upcoming course.