Malicious software hits Connecticut court system’s computers

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HARTFORD – The Connecticut court system said its computer system was infected by ransomware, a malicious software that can block access until a ransom is paid.

A ransomware attack stalled the branch’s computer system rendering the network useless for several hours. The branch’s information technology division took steps to contain the infection.

They released a statement saying:

"Absolutely no private information was released as a result of this infection, no data was breached and no files have been lost.”

Lon Seidman is a computer expert and used to oversee cyber security for a large tech company and said these types of attacks are common.

“They’re criminal organizations overseas that are out of the reach of law enforcement,” said Seidman.

Similar to February’s WannaCry Ransomware attack that targeted 11 Connecticut governmental agencies, Seidman said state agencies are a great target for these types of attacks.

“There’s a lot of computers there. There’s a lot of points of entry because every person who’s got a terminal in front of them if a potential entry point,” said Seidman.

He said attacks like this usually don’t aim to delete files. Instead, they encrypt files and make them inaccessible. Hackers then have a key that you need to pay them for in order to unlock the files.

Seidman said most IT departments are prepared for attacks like this. A good system backup will allow a department to restore its database prior to infection. In fact, the Judicial Branch says its system were up and running by Friday late afternoon citing minimal service interruptions.

Seidman said in order to prevent attacks like this it takes constant vigilance—not just for major computer networks but for personal computers too.

“It’s a matter of not clicking on things that don't look appropriate,” said Seidman. “Sometimes you might get a link from somebody that you know but in fact it’s the virus running on that person’s computer sending you the link and I think it’s just a matter of being very careful about what you click on.”