State of Vermont server taken offline after nationwide cyberattack

By Guy Page

The state of Vermont took a server offline as a result of being among 18,000 computer users affected by a nationwide cyberattack, Chief Information Officer John Quinn said Tuesday morning.

Yesterday, a sophisticated attack “compromised security firm FireEye, the US Treasury and Commerce departments and likely many more victims,” reports.

“Threat actors hacked into IT company SolarWinds in order to use its software channel to push out malicious updates onto 18,000 of its Orion platform customers. This scenario, referred to as a supply-chain attack, is perhaps the most devious and difficult to detect as it relies on software that has already been trusted and that can be widely distributed at once,” Malwarebytes said.

Vermont CIO John Quinn

The state of Vermont was among those customers, Quinn told Vermont Daily on Tuesday. “We were one of the 18,000 SolarWinds customers that were on the affected software version. We immediately took the server offline and have taken additional security steps to protect our systems and data. We have no evidence that we were compromised but are monitoring our environment very closely.”

The loss of the server did not affect computer services. “The server that we took offline monitored system performance of our servers. It is not noticable to our users or citizens,” Quinn said.

The University of Vermont Medical Center is emerging from a disastrous cyberattack that began in late October and took down the patient information portal and employee email. The cyberattack cost the hospital an estimated $63 million in overall costs.

According to its website, Solarwinds delivers IT solutions — including cybersecurity — to many state and national government agencies, including:

  • Defense: U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corp, IC, and DoD Agencies and the UK Defence Sector.
  • Civilian: U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Justice, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Treasury, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and more.
  • National/Central: UK National Health Service (NHS), UK Central Government, European Parliament, Health and Social Care Information Centre, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Health, NATO Support Agency, and more.
  • State, Local & Education: The State of Texas, The City of Indianapolis, Harrison College, University of California, Berkeley, and more.

According to the New York Times, the National Security Agency (NSA) was caught unawares. It was informed of the breach by a private company. It is not known how long the hackers — believed to be Russian-based — have been accessing information, nor is it known what information has been accessed.

Read more of Guy Page’s reports. Vermont Daily is sponsored by True North Media.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons/Byseyhanla

11 thoughts on “State of Vermont server taken offline after nationwide cyberattack

  1. This is why Chris Krebs, Director of CISA (the US cybersecurity agency) was fired recently, and why his deputy left. This is also why the FBI and Texas Rangers were at the Solarwinds HQ in Austin.

    Huge sting operation in effect? Because you have to let them commit the crime first.

    Trump may not be as dumb as the left portrays him to be.

  2. I see a business opportunity here.. get that Pony Express up and running again.
    It would faster than the US Mail and very “Green”.
    No one is gonna hack a painted mare.

  3. There’s going to be much more of this in the coming months. People would be wise to come up with alternative methods. It’s very conceivable we could have a cyber black out for a period/periods of time.

    • Hi Neil (see me waving)
      There is a big tech issue over there that YES, Is a Big Deal.

      Do ya’ll know that during the lockdown there were a ton of NH residents that work in Vermont (like in construction jobs for example) that couldn’t file for our unemployment benefits HERE when they took us out of work because the Vermont computer system crashed?
      Apparently, we learned after 7 weeks of not being able to process these claims, that the NH system had to talk to the VT system- and couldn’t because first it was overloaded (as was ours) but then yours crashed.
      So we had to just sit and wait for that all to get fixed before the claims could move forward- with no information at all.
      You all didn’t even know what was going on- imagine us?
      Our people on the phones didn’t even know.. it was a supervisor that I demanded I speak with that finally chased this information down- when we got to the 7 week mark with no check in the mail, us and 47 other families at one company alone. A lot of them wound up getting put on some food stamps because *something* had to happen, we had no idea how long this would take. These were young families feeding kids.

      So YES, they need to upgrade, wire up, fix, upgrade, secure or do whatever it is that needs doing because this all effects even people over here, I can imagine there are folks down on the Mass. border that had this too.

      We were none too pleased lemme tell ya.

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