Wichita hit by ransomware attack, online payment systems down

The US city of Wichita, Kansas, has suffered a ransomware attack which has taken some of the city’s services offline.

The city disclosed that certain systems were encrypted using malware, and, in response, certain computer networks and systems were temporarily shut down.

Encryption malware is a type of virus that locks documents and files on the targeted system.

The threat actor will then seek payment to decrypt the files and may release the stolen data if the ransom isn’t paid. “Unfortunately, government organizations are often targeted by these groups,” the City of Wichita said.

As a result, “many city systems are down as security experts determine the source and extent of the incident.”

Certain online payment systems appear to be disrupted, this includes payments for certain transit and water. The city has said that the airport is functioning normally despite not having public WiFi and that the arrival/departure screens are not working.

For “operational security purposes,” the group claiming responsibility for the ransomware attack has not been disclosed. However, federal and local law enforcement authorities have been notified and are “assisting with the matter.”

The impact on the city’s data is not yet known. Those in charge of the matter are “completing a thorough review and assessment of this matter, including the potential impact on data.”

The attack on Wichita marks the 39th time that a local government in the US has been impacted by ransomware this year, Brett Callow, a threat analyst at cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, said on X.

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, housing roughly 390,000 residents, and is in the top 50 largest cities in the US.

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