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Investigation into Michigan IT Consortium Hack Continues

The search for answers is ongoing in the case of the Oct. 20 ransomware attack against the 85 partners of the Midland Information Technology Consortium. Email and phone services have been restored, officials say.

(TNS) — An international investigation continues into the Oct. 20 ransomware attack on the 85 partners of the Midland Information Technology Consortium (MITCON).

Midland Business Alliance President and CEO Tony Stamas said on Friday that Internet, email and phone services have been restored for MITCON's partners, most of which are nonprofits. MITCON is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Midland Business Alliance.

"Internet, email and phone services have now been restored and we are confident that the network is once again secure," Stamas said. "Full restoration efforts continue, some (of) which are contingent on the ongoing international forensics investigation. I want to commend the MITCON team for how they've managed this situation and those affected for their patience and understanding."

The Midland Police Department is one of the law enforcement bodies taking part in the investigation of the ransomware attack.

Community Relations Officer Brennon Warren has said the hacker did not demand a specific amount of money. He also said the investigation will be lengthy. If charges are filed, they would be for fraud and computer hacking/invasion and would be felony charges.

Stamas also spoke on the scheduled topic of cybersecurity to a few hundred people gathered at Friday's monthly WakeUp! Midland breakfast sponsored by the Midland Business Alliance at the Great Hall.

"Today's topic of cybersecurity could not be timelier," Stamas told the crowd, noting that ransomware attacks increased by 78% in 2021, a year in which two of every three organizations were attacked, according to Forbes magazine.

"Unfortunately, many of us in this room have recently experienced this firsthand," Stamas said in reference to the Oct. 20 ransomware attack.

"I could not be prouder of the MITCON team — Rocky, Gus, Aaron, Keith, Jake — led by executive director Tracy Quinlan," he continued. "They have been working tirelessly for the past two weeks — day and night — to ensure every necessary step has been taken. Thank you to everyone who has been affected for your patience and understanding over the past two weeks. This has been frustrating and disruptive for so many but it truly showcases how real cybersecurity threats are."

Stamas said that based on the statistics, a ransomware attack will likely strike the Midland community again.

"When it does, I know we can use lessons learned from this situation and remember how we supported each other. That's who we are here in Midland and the Great Lakes Bay Region," he said.

The cybersecurity discussion also included a panel of experts from 1st State Bank, Ieuter Insurance Group, Yeo & Yeo, and Mercury Telecom.

©2022 the Midland Daily News, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.