Colorado Agency Targeted in Nationwide Ransomware Scheme
No money was paid and no information was lost during a ransomware cyberattack that exploited a cloud-based vulnerability in the Colorado Department of Transportation’s computer network last spring, officials said Wednesday.
CDOT was one of several government agencies across the country targeted by two Iranian computer hackers in the sweeping extortion scheme, according to a grand jury indictment filed in New Jersey federal court on Wednesday.
Cities and businesses also were targeted by the two men, who are not believed to be connected to the Iranian government but are believed to be in Iran, the U.S. Justice Department said. The hackers extorted about $6 million and caused victims to lose more than $30 million, prosecutors said.
Colorado paid no ransom during the February CDOT attack, but work to contain and eradicate the ransomware, known as SamSam, cost at least $1.5 million, said Brandi Simmons, a spokeswoman for the Colorado governor’s Office of Information Technology. The state also invested in new security controls after the attack, she said.
The hackers exploited a cloud-based server without standard firewalls used by the state to access the CDOT system, Simmons said.