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A malware attack affected computing devices owned and operated by three state agencies in Rhode Island, confirmed the State’s digital security teams.

Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth & Families, one of the departments affected by the malware attack.

According to Call 12 for Action, the infection became noticeable on 31 May at the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), Department of Human Services (DHS) and Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH). The incident persisted into the day on 1 June when smaller PCs and hardware devices unexpectedly crashed. Officials observed nothing else that would raise their suspicions.

IT and security teams looked into the matter and confirmed that malware was to blame for the device disruptions. Chief Digital Officer Bijay Kumar said those personnel even discovered the probable delivery vector.

“In this case, we believe this could be through a generic phishing attack, clicking on a link in an email, just an external site which is clicked,” Kumar explained to Call 12 for Action. “We did some proactive upgrades and have since mitigated the issue.”

The attack is believed to have affected 400 out of the state’s 10,000 devices. Kumar confirmed that the infection didn’t compromise any information. Even so, he said the State would continue to investigate the matter further.

We take security very seriously, so we always like to err on the safer side of security so we talked to the National Guard, state police, as well as EMA to make sure we don’t leave any stone unturned to keep our system secure.

Brenna McCabe, spokeswoman for the Rhode Island Department of Administration, released a statement about the incident on 3 June. In it, she explained that the team had implemented a “technical solution” to help affected devices return to their normal functioning. She went on to say that first-of-the-month payments weren’t affected by the attack and that minimal service disruptions might occur as the three departments prepared for normal business hours on 4 June, reported The Providence Journal.

News of this attack came a few days after Atlanta’s city government disclosed that a March ransomware attack against its systems wiped out years of police dashcam footage. Since then, Atlanta officials said they will probably need another $9.5 million on top of the $5 million they already spent to further their recovery efforts.

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