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SamSam ransomware infects Colorado Department of Transportation

Luana PASCU

February 23, 2018

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SamSam ransomware infects Colorado Department of Transportation

SamSam ransomware is back and the Colorado Department of Transportation is its most recent victim. More than 2,000 agency computers had to be shut down on Feb 21 to prevent the ransomware from spreading across the entire infrastructure.

According to CBS local news, the critical systems used to manage road traffic and alerts were not affected. The attackers encrypted some files and requested bitcoin in exchange for the decryption key.

Although DoT is working with a security company to repair the system, the FBI was also called in for further investigation of the damage.

“Early this morning state security tools detected that a ransomware virus had infected systems at the Colorado Department of Transportation. The state moved quickly to quarantine the systems to prevent further spread of the virus,” said David McCurdy, OIT”s Chief Technology Officer.

“OIT, FBI and other security agencies are working together to determine a root cause analysis. This ransomware virus was a variant and the state worked with its antivirus software provider to implement a fix today. The state has robust backup and security tools and has no intention of paying ransomware. Teams will continue to monitor the situation closely and will be working into the night.”

Colorado Department of Transportation is one of the many organizations that fell victim to SamSam ransomware that in January infected vulnerable networks in hospitals, city councils, educational facilities and transportation systems.

Following its infection with SamSam and the encryption of over 1,400 files, a hospital in Indiana paid $55,000 to restore its systems. In that case, although they had data backups, they chose to pay the ransom. SamSam doesn”t spread via phishing campaigns but takes advantage of unsecured devices directly connected to the internet and uses them to spread laterally across the network.

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