Wisconsin County Faces Ransomware Attack on Public Health Department


A Wisconsin county is responding to a ransomware attack that targeted its public health department and forced officials to take some systems offline.

Officials in Rock County, Wisconsin, told Recorded Future News that they suffered a cyberattack on September 29 that affected several of their computer systems.

The attack targeted the Rock County Public Health Department, which serves more than 160,000 people in 25 cities, towns and villages across the region. The county is about an hour from Madison and Milwaukee.

“We responded quickly to this incident by shutting down systems to avoid further impact and are working with third-party specialists to safely bring our systems back online as quickly as possible,” County Administrator Josh Smith said.

“As some systems are not yet fully operational, this may have a temporary impact on some county operations. However, the public is expected to experience only minimal disruption to services at this time. We are investigating the full nature and scope of this event, and its impact on the data in our systems.

Smith added that they are working to fully restore the system and will provide updates to local residents as they progress.

The attack was claimed by the Cuba ransomware gang on Tuesday. The gang, which has no ties to the country, did not specify how much data was stolen, but said the information included financial documents, tax information and more.

Researchers from Google and the Ukrainian Computer Emergency Response Team believe the criminals behind the ransomware could be linked to the Russian stateas we’ve seen target government systems in Ukraine and Montenegro.

In November 2022, the FBI and other U.S. agencies said the group launched attacks on 100 organizations around the world and grossed $60 million.

Municipalities across Wisconsin have faced a series of attacks over the past year. Ransomware hackers close a school district serving nearly 20,000 students a year ago and caused a “catastrophic software failure» in Langlade County in July. This attack, carried out by the LockBit ransomware gang, paralyzed the county sheriff’s office and forced the rerouting of 911 calls.

In addition to ransomware, the Wisconsin state court system wash it with a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack in March causing problems.

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Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a breaking news reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked as a journalist around the world since 2014. Before returning to New York, he worked for media outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.

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