The US Weather channel suddenly went off the air for more than an hour, due to a Bitcoin ransomware attack. The FBI is reportedly investigating the incident.
After the Weather channel broadcast was suddenly interupted, the weather news service took to Twitter to announce to its 3.5 million Twitter followers that they had been the victim of a malicious software attack, adding that the federal law enforcement agency was looking into the incident.
— The Weather Channel (@weatherchannel) April 18, 2019
The FBI made a statement that the cable channel did experience a ransomware attack, however, more details are not available at the time of writing.
A ransomware is the type of virus that infects your computer, with the goal of holding it hostage and locking you out of all of your information in return for a certain amount of Bitcoin. The access to the computer and all of its information is then, hopefully, released once the Bitcoin payment is made.
Due to the fact that the Weather channel had all its information safely stored through several backup mechanisms, they were able to be 'back up' and running in little over an hour.
Obviously they did not pay the Bitcoin ransom.
According to Allan Liska, an analyst who helps clients fend off ransomware attacks, it is always a better choice to not pay up if there’s any other way to restore affected systems.
This story is similar to the Boston public defenders article, who as well suffered a cyberattack that caused a slowdown of almost two weeks, disabled e-mail systems, delayed hearings, and held up payments for private attorneys.
The ransomware attack demanded also that a ransom be paid in Bitcoin, however, the Committee for Public Counsel Services refused to facilitate the Bitcoin transfer to the attackers, as they had as well access to backup files.
Moral of the story: Always securely back up everything!
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