Malware Attack Takes Remote Community Back in Time
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:
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.
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