Cameron County Elections Dept hit with ransomware

I was browsing the dark web recently and one of hacker friends who I normally talk to from time to time told me there was a mystery file on one of the repositories available for purchase for the small sum of 50 bitcoin titled “cameroncounty.rar” by a seller called “v4ll3yp0ny956” This was definitely odd considering you don’t see these type of things on the daily basis on there.

I found out that on Wednesday night (Thursday midnight), several computers used by the Cameron Co. Elections department have been targeted with ransomware leaving the computers encrypted and now held for “ransom”. What this means is that any valuable data stored on those computers has now been compromised and unless the victim(s) pays money to the attackers, the data is compromised and if the attacker chooses to, can forever encrypt the data leaving it possibly lost. In the case for Cameron County Elections, these computers store valuable citizen’s information such as their full name, date of birth, addresses, driver license information and if I’m not mistaken even social security numbers.

I also found that the computers used for the elections department didn’t comply with IT standards, and were still running Windows 7. Microsoft the company that makes the operating system pulled the plug on all support and updates leaving the operating system officially “dead” and anyone still running this operating system after the end of life date of January 14th, of 2020 would do so at their own risk. My understanding is that the IT Director warned the elections department to be up to date on their software and security updates and wouldn’t be able to join the network until they were IT compliant and they chose not to, in turn opting out and joining a separate network. Sure enough only after a few days after the end of life date, the computers were attacked and now who knows what kind of data has been compromised.

The Cameron County Elections has been pretty quiet on this but its only a matter of time before shit hits the fan. Just a few years ago there was a couple of old servers for sale at the flea market containing all sorts of user data. Juan Montoya from El Rrun Rrun covered this story on his blog on the following article

Being this is the second time something like this happens, I’m going to go out on a limb here and say this is no longer a mistake but rather an inside job trying to cash in someway or another. Remi Garza from the elections department needs to be accountable.

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