Sucks to be Licking County right now after major systems shutdown
Ransomware has left Licking County in the state of Ohio tongue-tied after the authorities were forces to shut down the local government’s computer and phones system to stop the malware from spreading.
Cyber criminals manages to infect the systems of several Ohio local government offices, according to the Newark Advocate, and demanded money in exchange for freeing the machines from the grasp of malware.
Ransomware takes over county
Licking County Commissioner Tim Bubb kept tight lipped on the amount the cyber criminals were demanding in order to release the offices from the ransomware’s grip, but he did say the local government was taking into account the advice of law enforcement and security experts.
“It’s their call to decide if we can get this resolved ourselves,” Bubb said. ”That decision has not been made and is not our call at this point. We’re dealing with a criminal element. It’s a crime against the people of Licking County and its government.”
In the meantime, Licking County has shutdown its systems thereby removing the risk of the malware from spreading elsewhere but also cutting online and telephone access for people using the county’s system.
The offices remain open but they have been forced to return to old-fashioned pen and paper based systems for the rest of the week at least. The attack has also forced the 911 emergency services centre in the county to revert back to carrying out dispatches manually, though citizens can still call them using the 911 number.
While Licking County has not been brought to its knees by the cyber attack, is has been severely inconvenienced, and servers as a case study to the havoc ransomware can wreak.
And suck attacks show no sign of going away as threat data from cyber security firm Kaspersky shows ransomware attacks are continuing to rise and blight the US in particular; 17 libraries in St Louis were recently infected with ransomware forcing a complete shutdown of their systems.
Ransomware is not just confined to affecting software and computers, having managed to cause electronic locks to fail in an Austrian hotel infected by malware spread by cyber crooks.