A recent cyberattack has a government workers in one Alaskan borough to ditch their computers in favor of something more secure: typewriters.
Officials in the borough of Matanuska-Susitna Persistent Threat-style attack, which involved several types of malware-including the Emotet and Dridex Trojans and CryptoLocker-ransomware-and compromised computers, laptops, servers, networked telephones, and email.
The borough's IT department to prevent further damage, according to a July 25 update from Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan. Such an attack could have been easily brought productivity to a standstill, but borough workers had another plan.
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“Without computers and files, borough employees acted resourcefully,” Sullivan wrote. “They re-enlisted typewriters from closets, and wrote by hand receipts and lists of the library book of patrons and landfill fees.”
The borough's IT department first caught the wind on July 17, but now believe the attack began as early as May 3, according to a July 30 status report from borough IT Director Eric Wyatt.
“This action, of attacking back, seemed to trigger the virus to launch the CryptoLocker component,” Wyatt wrote. “CryptoLocker then began encrypting files on workstations and servers.”
At that point, they contacted the FBI, disconnected the internet, and disconnected borough servers from one another before shutting them all down.
As of Tuesday, IT department staff were still working overtime to clear the infection and get systems back up and running. On the positive note, most of the borough's data is still intact, Sullivan said.
“Despite the sophisticated level of attack, the borough backup servers that store this local government's documents were structured in the way that protected most of the data, “Sullivan wrote. “Credit cards are not stored here online and were never at risk.”