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Ransomware Strikes District Attorney Offices in New Mexico

The New Mexico Administrative Office of the District Attorneys was still trying to get its main computer servers working Thursday after ransomware locked prosecutors across the state out of files.

(TNS) — The New Mexico Administrative Office of the District Attorneys was still trying to get its two main computer servers working again Thursday after a ransomware attack locked prosecutors across the state out of their files Wednesday morning.

"We are currently working to resolve the issue and optimistic it will be resolved sometime today," said Henry Valdez, the agency's director, in an interview Thursday.

He explained the cyberattack: "It comes in however it can, then encrypts your files so you can't access them and then says you have to pay a certain amount, and if you don't, they never release the encryption."

Valdez said the two computer servers affected by the attack are in Albuquerque but serve offices in the 13 judicial districts in New Mexico. The Santa Fe-based server near his office has not been affected, he added.

Work at the First Judicial District Attorney's Office, which serves Santa Fe, Rio Arriba and Los Alamos counties, was hindered by the attack, a spokesman confirmed.

"The FJDA can confirm that we are experiencing issues with our case management system, as well as other internal systems. This has resulted in an inability for our staff to work as they are normally accustomed," spokesman Nathan Lederman wrote in an email.

"We have been informed that our computer systems have been hacked statewide," District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies wrote in an email Wednesday to judges and others in the district.

"As such, we have no access to any files/drives/folders. Nothing," she wrote.

"[Administrative Office of the District Attorneys] is attempting to fix the situation but it appears that malware and/or ransomware has attacked the systems and this may take the rest of the week," Carmack-Altwies added.

The Judicial Information Division Service desk sent an email to judges Thursday warning staff to use caution when opening electronic communications from the District Attorney's Office.

"Until further notice anything we receive from the district attorney's office, even from trusted sources, needs to be thoroughly reviewed," the email says. "All emails from any DA email address should be carefully examined especially if it contains any sort of attachment or hyperlink that would take you to a website."

© 2024 The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, N.M.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.