Ransomware Attack on North Carolina County


    Reports are in that hackers have targeted the Onslow Water and Sewer Authority’s (ONWASA) Internal Computer System including servers and computer systems on Saturday last week disrupting the databases which stored the customer information.

    However, a spokesperson from the North Carolina based County said that the hack did not compromise any of the customer information in the attack. But many of the malware affected databases have to be recreated which will consume a lot of resources like time and finances.

    FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have been informed about the hack and a cybersecurity firm has been pressed into service to investigate the Ransomware attack incident.

    Sources reporting to Cybersecurity Insiders confirmed that the safety of the water supply system meant for public and the area’s environment is not in danger with the incident. However, the source adds that the overhaul of the IT infrastructure including Hardware & Software might consume a lot of budgets allotted to the county for this financial year.

    On October 4th, 2018, ONWASA first experienced a malware attack on one of its main databases. As the in-house staff couldn’t contain the virus, outside cybersecurity specialists were brought in to supervise the investigation.

    Prima facie done on Monday detected that one of the central databases was the first one to be hit by a ransomware called EMOTET which released a virus named RYUK into the network at 3 am on Saturday.

    The staff of the Onslow County and the hired cybersecurity specialists immediately took down the affected systems from the network to contain the spread of the ransomware. They found out that the malware somehow crept into the network after crossing the multiple layers of computer security barrier which includes firewalls and malware/anti-virus detecting software.

    A ransom demanding email was sent to the IT staff working in the main office of the County.

    ONWASA’s IT Staff said that it will not negotiate with criminals and will never bow down to their demands.

    A statement released just a few hours ago by the officials of Onslow County says that the water and sewage service to homes and businesses will not be interrupted due to the incident.

    Conversely, service orders, account creation, connections, disconnections, development works, backflow program, engineering, and human resources will have to go through a manual process until the computer systems are restored.

    Note- Phone services are expected to be fully restored by this weekend. Email service will be down for a couple of weeks.

    Naveen Goud
    Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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