Pennsylvania Senate Democrats Suffer Ransomware Attack

The attack, which sent disabling software to computers throughout the network, was discovered early on the morning of Friday, March 3.

by Steve Esack, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.) / March 6, 2017
This message is displayed when users are infected with the Cryptolocker ransomware. If the user doesn't pay the ransom, his or her files are gone. Flickr/Christiaan Colen
This message is displayed when users are infected with the Cryptolocker ransomware. If the user doesn't pay the ransom, his or her files are gone.Flickr/Christiaan Colen

(TNS) -- Democrats in the Pennsylvania state Senate had their entire computer system hacked and held for ransom, Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa said Friday.

The ransomware attack, discovered early on the morning of Friday March 3, sent disabling software to computers throughout the network, said Costa, D-Allegheny. The software prevented caucus senators and staff from accessing computer systems and files, he said.

Law enforcement was contacted to investigate and Microsoft is working to restore the network, Costa said in a statement. There is no indication any data has been compromised and offices remained open to constituents, he said.

Ransomeware is a cyber attack that sends encrypted, malicious software to computers or entire networks until a ransom is paid in the form of digital currency known as Bitcoin.

"Updates will be provided as more information becomes available," Costa said.

There are 16 elected Democrats in the 50-member Senate.

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