No Data Lost in Virus Attack on Maine State Networks

The virus attack that affected computers across several agencies consisted of 1,600 emails, officials said Wednesday. All but 18 emails were prevented from reaching employee inboxes and no data was compromised.

by Eric Russell, Portland Press Herald / September 27, 2019
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(TNS) — A virus forced state officials Wednesday to shut down computers and servers at the Bureau of Corporations, Elections and Commissions, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Maine State Archives.

However, no public data was compromised and Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said all affected services should be restored Thursday by the Office of Information Technology, known as OIT.

“The cybersecurity measures we have in place through OIT, combined with the immediate actions taken by our Information Services team, left us with minimal impact from what could otherwise have been a far more serious incident,” Dunlap said.

The virus was identified at 3 p.m. Wednesday by a cybersecurity alert system in place. The virus affected computers at the Maine Bureau of Corporations and in Elections and Commissions, two servers at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and a server at the Maine State Archives.

The two servers at the Board of Motor Vehicles are used only for internal testing purposes and do not serve any public-facing function, according to Dunlap.

The Maine State Archives server is used for scanning documents and also does not serve a public function.

Dunlap stressed the state’s Central Voter Registration database was not affected.

The virus attack consisted of 1,600 emails, but all but 18 emails were prevented from reaching employee inboxes.

“All state employees complete annual training in cybersecurity measures, since much of our work involves responding to emails from the public,” Dunlap said.

“It presents a difficult challenge when viruses, such as these, are specially designed to look like legitimate correspondence. We are always continuing to improve our abilities to spot these harmful emails and prevent them from doing damage.”

©2019 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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