Ransomware attack hits Virginia Legislature
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Ransomware attack hits Virginia Legislature

A ransomware attack has hit the Virginia state Legislature’s IT branch and state agencies are helping with the recovery, a spokesperson for Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday.

“Governor Northam has been briefed on a ransomware attack on the Legislative Branch’s Division of Legislative Automated Systems, and has directed relevant Executive Branch agencies to work quickly to offer any help in assessing and responding to this ongoing situation,” said Alena Yarmosky, the governor’s press secretary, in a statement.

The Division of Legislative Automated Systems (DLAS) is the IT agency for the Virginia General Assembly. The General Assembly relies on DLAS for networking infrastructure, desktop computing and printing services, according to its website.

A Virginia state official said DLAS was shutting down many of its computer servers in an attempt to stop the spread of ransomware.

Ransomware has been a thorn in the side of state and local governments for years. A 2019 ransomware incident that hampered services in Baltimore for weeks cost the city an estimated $18 million.

Attacks are carried out by a wide variety of actors, ranging from criminal gangs to people allegedly working at least tangentially with their countries’ governments.

Occasionally, international law enforcement has been able to coordinate and arrest ransomware attackers. But just as often, when US authorities have been able to identify and charge someone they believe has been responsible for an attack, they’ve been out of reach in countries where they cannot be extradited to the US.

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