Virginia General Assembly Systems Restored, Undergoing Testing Following Ransomware Attack


Virginia’s General Assembly staff is starting to restore systems after a ransomware attack hit internal servers, bill drafting systems, and the General Assembly voicemail servers.

“We got an email about an hour or so I guess, saying that they had gotten it back up last night, and they’re now in the process of testing to make sure that everything is functioning, and they hope to finish that sometime tonight,” Senator Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville) said on the telephone to The Virginia Star Friday afternoon.

Virginia’s Legislative Information System still had a message warning of a service outage on Friday evening.

Legislators are preparing bills for the 2022 General Assembly session, and the attack interrupted those processes. Specific details of the attack haven’t been published, but ransomware attacks often compromise sensitive data. Ruff said there’s not a lot legislators can do policy-wise to address the cybersecurity problem.

Ruff said, “That has been an ongoing issue of concern for all of us throughout the world for a long time, and I’m not sure there’s any legislation that we can pass that will make it any stronger. The state system gets people trying to hack into it all the time and we can beat it a million times, but the one time that it gets around our safeguards is when they can create real havoc for everybody. As far as legislation, I’m not sure that we can do anything more than what we’re currently trying to do throughout the state’s system of computers.”

The Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Systems (DBHDS) is also dealing with impacts from a separate attack against timekeeping systems provider Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG).

On Thursday, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin spoke to reporters and said he had been briefed on the attacks. He summarized his cybersecurity policy.

“I am concerned. Governor Northam included about $60 million in his budget proposal this morning. I don’t think it’s nearly enough,” Youngkin told The Virginia Star. “When I get there on January 15th and I, in fact, have a chance to kick off a deep, deep investigation of what’s happening, I believe we’re going to have to invest more. I think this is one of the biggest risks we see as a nation and as a Commonwealth, and we’re going to make sure that we’re protecting ourselves.”

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Frank Ruff” by Frank Ruff. 
Background Photo “Virginia Capitol” by Anderskev. CC BY 3.0.



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