City officials don’t check if they received the ransom, but claimed that a new ransomware gang was behind the attack, cybersecurity experts say.
Geneva, Ohio — Monday as Biden Administration Accused China A catastrophic cyberattack on the city of Geneva became a hot topic as it played a role in ransomware attacks on US companies.
In a statement to 3News, city manager Joe Varckette explained that he discovered an online breach of the city’s website and online data system early Friday morning. City leaders and information technology departments immediately began assessing potentially exposed city departments.
On Monday morning, city officials contacted the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security Cyber Security and Infrastructure Security Agency to report a cyber intrusion.
According to the 2010 census, the city in the heart of Ohio’s wine region has a population of about 6,200. Its small profile seems to be an unexpected target for cyber attacks.
Alex Hamerstone, Advisory Solutions Director, TrustedSec, a cybersecurity firm headquartered in Strongsville, said: He said the target may be well known. “Or because the target is known to have a lot of money, but often hackers don’t even know who the system is. They just look at the vulnerable system. I’m just scanning the internet. “
The Geneva data system was breached, but city officials say emergency services were not interrupted.
The city didn’t check if it received a ransom from the hacker, but a website tracking the hacker’s activity posted a complaint by Avos Locker acknowledging the attack. Hamerstone described Avos Locker as a new ransomware gang that recently emerged.
Claims that have not been validated by the city authorities or the FBI present a small sample of citizens’ social security numbers and credit card numbers as evidence of the data it leaked, giving more data if the city did not negotiate. He said he threatened to publish it.
“This is an absolutely very common MO,” said Hamerstone, who warned victims of cyberattacks about dealing with ransomware hackers. “In fact, there is no guarantee that you will get your data back, especially if you are threatening to publish it, there is no guarantee that it will be destroyed or stored,” he said.
In 2019, the city of Cleveland faced a ransomware attack that broke the computer system at Hopkins Airport. At the time, FBI agent Brian Smith, who heads the cyber research team in Cleveland, said, “It’s FBI’s position and policy to encourage entities not to pay the ransom because they’re just intensifying bad behavior by actors. “.
Cleveland city officials said they did not pay the ransom, but repairs to restore the data system cost the city $ 750,000.
Geneva city officials are still assessing how sensitive civilian information has been compromised. However, they will be monitored with great care by anyone who interacts with the city before July 16, 2021 in any way online, face-to-face, or in any way shared personally identifiable information. Said that you are being asked for prevention.
- Monitor financial accounts and credit reports
- Contact your credit / debit card company and issue a fraud warning
- Change password to personal account
- Take additional authentication measures for all personal accounts and applications
FBI investigating cyber attacks on computer systems in Geneva
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