Officials Confirm No Data Have Been Compromised in the Wiregrass Electric Cooperative Attack
The Incident Comes in the Wake of Numerous Ransomware Attacks That Have Shut Down Large Sectors of the American Economy.
Last weekend, a ransomware attack was launched against Wiregrass Electric Cooperative, a utility company serving more than 25,000 meters in Hartford, Alabama. Officials have recently verified and confirmed that no data have been compromised.
Brad Kimbro, WEC’s chief operating officer declared:
We at Wiregrass Electric Cooperative hold member information in the highest regard, and we always do everything we can to protect our members’ information. We are thankful that no information has been accessed during this event.
Out of caution, WEC is conducting system maintenance following the attack. The system maintenance prevents members from accessing their accounts and any payment systems. Additionally, prepay accounts disconnects that reach a zero balance will be suspended during the maintenance period.
The company will end the system maintenance period when officials feel it is safe to do so. WEC encourages members to follow its social media pages for further updates.
U.S. utilities have been investing heavily in cybersecurity initiatives, and have strong traditions of combining their resources to respond quickly to emergencies.
In the past seven months, the surge of ransomware attacks has shut down large sectors of the American economy, with threat actors taking advantage of poorly implemented security measures.
The Biden administration has made it clear that cybersecurity should be a top priority requiring both diplomatic and military responses from the Federal Government.
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An Alarming Surge of Ransomware Attacks
Cyberattacks have become a serious threat for the private sector:
- A few days ago, IT firm Kaseya was hacked, resulting in the infection of hundreds of businesses with Revil Ransomware by the Sodinokibi gang. The hackers initially asked for a ransom of $70 million in Bitcoin.
- Back in June, JBS Foods, the world’s largest meatpacking organization, was forced to shut down production at several sites all over the world following a cyberattack. The attack affected multiple JBS production facilities globally over the weekend, including those from the United States, Australia, and Canada. The organization paid $11 million to REvil Ransomware hackers.
- In May, Colonial Pipeline, the largest fuel pipeline operator in the U.S., which carries refined gasoline and jet fuel all the way from Texas to New York was forced to shut down after being hit by ransomware in a clear demonstration of the vulnerability of energy infrastructure to this type of cyberattacks. Colonial Pipeline paid the DarkSide ransomware hackers nearly $5 million in cryptocurrency in return for a decryption key to restore its systems. That same month, a ransomware attack on Scripps Health’s computer network significantly thwarted care, forcing the healthcare provider to block patient access to its online portal, postpone consultations, and transfer critical care patients to other hospitals.
- In April, the Metropolitan Police Department confirmed they suffered a cyberattack after the Babuk Ransomware gang leaked screenshots of stolen data. According to AP News, the gang asked for $4 million and received a counter-offer of $100,000. As a result, the gang released the personal data of several Metropolitan Police Department officers.
- In March, CNA Financial Corporation, one of the largest American insurance companies, informed the public that it has been affected by a “sophisticated cybersecurity attack”. The company had reportedly agreed to pay the $40 million ransom to a Russian cybercrime syndicate known as Evil Corp to restore access to its systems.
- Back in February, a hacker gained access to the water system of Oldsmar, Florida, and tried to pump in a dangerous amount of sodium hydroxide (lye). Luckily, a worker spotted it and reversed the action.