Systems down as City of Wichita investigates ransomware attack | #ransomware | #cybercrime

WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Wichita is one of the latest governments working to recover from a ransomware attack. The city said it noticed Sunday that systems were encrypted by malware, holding the files for ransom and impacting some city services.

The city said there’s no timetable for when systems will be restored. That means payment for many city services or bills must be paid for with cash.

The full impact of the attack is still being assessed. One of the biggest impacts on the public is electronic payment for bills, licenses or fines can’t be accepted. It’s having an impact on employees as well.

“A lot of email systems are being impacted, so some city employees are not able to access their email at this time,” said City of Wichita spokesperson Megan Lovely.

According to the 2023 FBI Internet Crime Report, governments are the third most impacted by ransomware attacks. Healthcare and critical manufacturing are the top two.

“People are just looking for points of entry and if they can find that point of entry, it doesn’t matter if it’s a business or if it’s a government entity, they’re going to try,” said Soteria Technology Solutions CEO Bill Ramsey.

Ramsay said large organizations like governments have a lot of points of access.

“Think about all the services that the city provides and that you can get to through their only portal,” said Ramsay. “Those things are all tied into city systems.”

He said restoring systems impacted by a ransomware attack is an involved process that can take weeks or months.

“Where did they have software lying in wait to be activated at whatever notice?” said Ramsay. “You can’t just spin things up because it doesn’t seem like that was hit. You have to thoroughly evaluate that system and a lot of times, it’s going to be a complete wipe, reinstall and then restore from backup.”

Wichita is not alone in this issue. Kansas City, Missouri’s municipal court has been closed for two days, and the city’s website has been down but no clear reason has been provided.

The Kansas Judicial Branch updated its ransomware attack last October, saying the recently completed examination found 150,000 people were impacted, including identification, biometric and health information.

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