Indiana housing agency computers hit by ransomware attack

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RICHMOND, Ind. — Richmond’s housing agency was the victim of a ransomware attack, in which a group believed to be from India hacked into its computer system, encrypted the data and demanded $8,000 to restore the agency’s access to the files.

Housing authority director Derek White said the agency became aware of the problem Feb. 27 and that it never considered paying the ransom because there was no guarantee it would get its data back, the Palladium-Item reported.

Eaton Computer was able to move the authority’s information to a new server and regain data that had been backed up in January.

“We lost about one month of data,” White said. “It could’ve been a lot worse.”

The agency is continuing efforts to restore data entered in February that wasn’t backed up.

“We’re a lot farther along than we thought we’d be, but we’re not fully caught up,” White said.

Eaton Computer general manager Robert Unruh Sr. said he doesn’t believe any of the data was stolen even though it was made inaccessible.

Unruh and network security analyst Alex Knobloch said they were unsure how the malware operators obtained access to the system, but that some of the system’s parts of were outdated and no longer as secure as they were when first installed.

Unruh said Eaton Computer installed a new replicating server at no charge to the authority. He said the current server is programmed to perform daily backups of data on site as well as at a remote location.

Information from the Palladium-Item.