CyberNews Briefs

Virginia legislative agencies and commissions hit with ransomware attack

A ransomware attack has hit agencies and commissions within the Virginia legislature, according to a spokesperson for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam. The attack currently affects Virginia’s Division of Legislative Automated Systems and the General Assembly’s IT agency. The governor has not clarified some details regarding the attack, including what kind of information was accessed and who is behind the attacks. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies are involved, and cybersecurity firm Mandiant will be assisting in incident response protocol. Legislative leaders in the state were informed about the attack, which occurred last Friday. The ransomware attack temporarily disabled the Division of Capitol Police, the Virginia Law Portal, and all of the internal systems for bill drafting or bill referrals were impacted.

In addition, the General Assembly’s voicemail system was down and many of the systems involved in budgeting were disrupted due to the attack. The ransom note received by the Virginia government provided little information on the nature of the attack. The organization shut off most of its servers to prevent the spread of ransomware. Other recent attacks include one in September in which the Virginia Defense Force and the Virginia Department of Military Affairs revealed that they had been impacted by a ransomware attack. Ransomware groups have also been targeting school systems, such as those in Jackson County, Georgia.

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