Local government networks were the target of a recent ransomware attack in a county in the state of Georgia. The key voting infrastructure assault reportedly managed to affect “critical systems” within the network.
The First Ransomware Attack For This Election Season
According to a recent CNN news report, the attack on Georgia’s Hall County was disclosed on October 7, while the aftermath of the hit is starting to emerge now. As per the release “critical systems within the Hall County Government networks” suffered the intrusion and this might be the first ransomware attack for this election season in the United States.
Katie Crumley, a Hall County spokesperson, said that among the affected systems in the county are the signature database, plus a voting precinct map hosted on the county’s website. However, she added that the personnel is now being successful in bringing some of the programs back to operational.
“We are currently bringing various programs back online, and those two items are included in that process,”. However, the voting process for our citizens has not been impacted due to the network issues.” – Crumley added.
As per the news report, the belief is that the attackers didn’t aim to specifically targeted election systems and that several other county functions like phone and email services had suffered as well.
Officials from Hall County report that third-party cybersecurity professionals are working to hasten the recovery.
More Ransomware Attacks On The Horizon?
The Georgia Hall County ransomware attack has been reported as the first incident to directly strike election-related infrastructure. However, this wasn’t the sole case of such a scale in the last months.
“At least 18 county or municipal bodies have been impacted by ransomware since the beginning of September — about three per week — so it’s very likely that other bodies will be hit in the run-up to the election.” – Said Brett Callow, a threat analyst at the security firm Emsisoft.
Aside from this, ransomware attacks are omnipresent in other countries and companies. In July such an intrusion hit Argentina’s largest telecommunications company Telecom. Back then, the cybercriminals demanded a $7.5 million ransom to be paid with the privacy coin – Monero (XMR).