Pennsylvania State Prosecutor's Office Paid Ransom In 'Avalanche' Ransomware Attack

Allegheny County state prosecutor's office paid attackers $1,400 in Bitcoin to free its data.



Remember that massive international takedown of the Avalanche botnet network last week that supported a major cybercrime ring? Well, at least one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of the operation has admitted publicly that it was hit with ransomware and forced to pay up.

The state prosecutor's office in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, confirmed to the Associated Press that it paid a ransom of around $1,400 in Bitcoin after its systems were infected with ransomware via Avalanche.

The Avalanche botnet had been active since 2009 and used for money muling schemes, malware distribution, and as a fast-flux communication infrastructure for other botnets. It was estimated to involve as many as 500,000 active infected devices worldwide on a daily basis.

An employee at the Pennsylvania prosecutor's office in January 2015 opened a link in an email that ultimately led to the ransomware infection, Allegheny County district attorney, Stephen Zappala Jr., told the AP. The user "opened the link because it appeared to go back to a legitimate government agency," he said.

Read more about this attack on AP.

 

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