Back to the Past: Bitpaymer Virus Reverts Alaskan Town to Typewriters

This article is about how the BitPaymer ransomware cryptovirus had forced people in some parts of Alaska, USA to go back to using typewriters. That is due to the computer systems getting compromised with said cryptovirus and as a prevention tactic, in order to stop the malware from spreading further. More than 200 victims had been struck with BitPaymer since it has come out, although most of them have happened within the last few weeks.

Origin of the BitPaymer Cyberattack in Alaska

On July 24th, a computer virus has hit the Anchorage Metropolitan Area in Alaska, USA and more specifically, the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) borough. At first only servers were being disconnected from each other, but soon phones, e-mail and the Internet access of the Mat-Su borough followed. Yesterday, on the 30th of July, borough officials have confirmed that they are still recovering most of their IT systems that have been compromised. The infrastructure is still slowly being rebuilt.

Last week, Public Affairs Director Patty Sullivan stated:

“Without computers and files, Borough employees acted resourcefully… They re-enlisted typewriters from closets, and wrote by hand receipts and lists of library book patrons and landfill fees at some of the 73 different buildings.

The IT Director of Matanuska-Susitna borough Eric Wyatt met with FBI agents last week to isolate and identify the virus and gather intelligence that could help the FBI in identifying the cybercriminals behind the threat and proceed with their prosecution.

Wyatt said the following regarding the virus:

“A multi-pronged, multi-vectored attack… not a single virus but multiple aspects of viruses together including trojan horse, Cryptolocker, time bomb, and dead man’s switch. This is a very insidious, very well-organized attack… it’s not a kid in his mom’s basement.”

Yesterday, a PDF report was published with the IT Director identifying (Read more...)

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