Ransomware At­tack In Al­bany

In Al­bany, the ex­tent to which the IT sys­tems have been crip­pled is not clear so far, how­ever gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials has­tened to al­lay any fears of records be­ing lost or dam­aged.

Distinguished Magazine - - CONTENTS - NAMRATA GULATI SAPRA

The trou­ble­maker ransomware at­tack has now claimed its lat­est vic­tim, the City of Al­bany which is the cap­i­tal of the New York state. Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, the at­tack hap­pened on March 30, 2019 and city of­fi­cials have con­firmed the same. They are work­ing in re­sponse to the in­ci­dent and to en­sure that no de­vi­a­tion hap­pens to any daily life ac­tiv­i­ties and no records are lost. This is not the first time such an in­ci­dent has hap­pened across the city. In fact, this fol­lows sim­i­lar re­cent at­tacks on North Carolina and Ge­or­gia. Both the pre­vi­ous at­tacks had caused dis­rup­tions to some res­i­den­tial ser­vices and also an ob­struc­tion to re­trieval of data in gov­ern­ment IT sys­tems and de­part­ments.

LIFE IS STILL NOR­MAL IN AL­BANY

In Al­bany, the ex­tent to which the IT sys­tems have been crip­pled is not clear so far, how­ever gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials has­tened to al­lay any fears of records be­ing lost or dam­aged. The press re­lease on the of­fi­cial site of the city had re­as­sured res­i­dents that all city ser­vices and data re­quired will be avail­able as usual. The only ex­cep­tions will be birth and death cer­tifi­cates, mar­riage cer­tifi­cates. The re­port also mentioned that the city will func­tion as usual from the be­gin­ning of the week. i.e. Mon­day at nor­mal work­ing hours and this in­cludes court ser­vices which will be open and func­tion­ing as usual.

The Mayor of Al­bany Kathy Shee­han re­as­sured the city’s res­i­dents that there was ab­so­lutely noth­ing to worry about and that the city of­fi­cials were as­sess­ing the ex­tent of dam­age. The mayor also tweeted that once the de­tails were known; it will be made aware to the pub­lic.

The Mayor in her state­ment com­mented, “The City of Al­bany has ex­pe­ri­enced a ransomware cy­ber-at­tack. We are cur­rently de­ter­min­ing the ex­tent of the com­pro­mise. We are com­mit­ted to keep­ing you in­formed and will pro­vide up­dates as they be­come avail­able. Things on the ground seemed nor­mal by Tues­day as daily life went on with­out any hic­cups. The mar­riage cer­tifi­cates were also ac­ces­si­ble and the only is­sue seemed to be that of birth and death cer­tifi­cates. How­ever, the pay­roll sys­tem of Mu­nic­i­pal work­ers seemed off­line and most of them were seen up­dat­ing their work hours man­u­ally on pa­per. This was ac­cord­ing to re­ports from the lo­cal Al­bany Times Union.”

At this point nei­ther the city of­fi­cials nor the mayor had given any de­tails on the spe­cific type of ransomware at­tack that had hap­pened against the IT sys­tems of the city.

NOT THE FIRST TIME, NOR THE LAST

Al­bany is the lat­est in the se­ries of cy­ber-re­lated ransomware at­tacks that are hap­pen­ing over cities and com­pa­nies. Very re­cently the world’s big­gest pro­ducer of Alu­minium was sub­jected to a ransomware at­tack termed as Locker Goga. This at­tack forced the com­pany to par­tially switch over its op­er­a­tions to man­ual mode un­til things were put back on track. In­fact, the pre­ced­ing at­tack in Ge­or­gia even com­pelled the county of­fi­cials to pay up cy­ber­crim­i­nals a sup­posed de­mand of $ 4, 00,000 to re­trieve the en­cryp­tion key.

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