Virginia Reeling from Ransomware

Virginia Reeling from Ransomware

Virginia is fighting cyber-fires on two fronts after ransomware attacks affected both its state legislature and an agency within its executive branch. 

In an attack that struck on the evening of December 12, key IT systems under the Division of Legislative Automated Systems (DLAS) were rendered inaccessible.

The attack was focused on certain internal servers, impacting the General Assembly voicemail server and the General Assembly’s Legislative Information System (LIS) portal, which allows lawmakers to draft bills and track legislation.

Most of the websites for Virginia’s legislative agencies and commissions, including the Division of Legislative Services and the Division of Capitol Police, were later forced offline by the attack.

A spokesperson for state governor Ralph Northam confirmed on Monday that ransomware was to blame. 

In an email sent out to members, Virginia House of Delegates deputy clerk Sharon Crouch Steidel wrote that neither the House systems nor the General Assembly website had been affected.

DLAS director Dave Burhop said on Monday that while a ransom note had not yet been sent, Virginia was considering alternatives to paying a ransom, including restoring their system using backups. However, Burhop added that the backups may also have been compromised in the attack. 

By Tuesday, the ransomware

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