Muscatine Power and Water reports weekend cybersecurity incident | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

Muscatine Power and Water has been the victim of a cybersecurity incident, the company announced Monday.

Addressing the incident is MPW’s first priority and it will work through final resolution, which is expected to be weeks from now, the announcement stated.

Muscatine Power and Water reported discovering a ransomware attack over the weekend. 

According to a news release, MPW discovered a cybersecurity incident impacting its corporate network environment Friday evening. Erika Cox, MPW director of customer technology experience, confirmed it was a ransomware attack and that it resulted in Internet services for MPW customers going offline Friday evening. Internet services were restored early Saturday. Cox said MPW was “business-as-usual” by Monday morning.

“Because we have some really good monitoring and alert systems in place, our staff was allowed to start investigating this early on,” Cox said. “It ended up being a huge benefit to MPW and our customers.”

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MPW defined cyber events as “malicious and intended to cripple and take down a company for weeks.” The company is working with a team of computer forensic experts to understand the extent of the incident and to restore operations. It is reported that after a short disruption to the corporate system, all business systems have been restored to normal.

Cox commented that there is an active investigation ongoing and some information has to remain confidential. She said both state and federal law enforcement agencies have been notified and they are involved in the investigation.

“We understand any time there is a cyber event that is what consumers are most concerned about is their personal information,” she said when asked if customer information had been compromised. “At this point in the investigation that is one of the focal points that is being investigated very thoroughly.”

She said that the attack had targeted the corporate network and that the Internet service is secure and MPW Internet customers can be assured that home networks and business networks were not targeted as part of the attack.

Brandy Olson, MPW general counsel and director of legal, regulatory and people services, said at no time was there any threat to the electrical or water systems. She said they operate separately from the corporate network by design to add an extra layer of protection.

“We have had nothing to this extent (in the past),” Olson said. “As a utility we are targeted regularly. It’s an industry issue. Utilities or any corporate network are targeted very frequently.”

The release said nothing is more important to MPW than allowing its systems to operate seamlessly and limiting any service interruptions to customers.

“While these types of situations have become all-too-common nationwide, we recognize the significance of this event and have quickly taken the appropriate steps to address it,” the release said. “Our comprehensive assessment is ongoing and may span several weeks. Rest assured that we are committed to sharing more information as circumstances allow.”

The company also thanked its employees, many of whom came in during their time off to address the issue.

Cox said if additional information that impacts customers is discovered it will be released.

Ransomware group BlackCat claims to be responsible for the phishing attack on the platform in February, The Verge reports.


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