La. retirement system warned it may have been target of Russian hack; Cox also investigating
BATON ROUGE – At least one state agency and a large area cable system were targeted in a high-profile Russian hack, the WBRZ Investigative Unit confirmed Friday.
Both LASERS – the state employees’ retirement system – and Cox were found to be suspected victims, though there are likely others. The agencies were targeted by a hack tied to the SolarWinds Corp, a company specializing in IT management tools. In reporting on the hack, Reuters global news service described the SolarWinds program as a “ubiquitous network management software” system.
The FBI said the hack is "a grave risk to the federal government and state, local, tribal, and territorial governments as well as critical infrastructure entities and other private sector organizations."
Cox provides TV, internet and other communication services to customers across south Louisiana. The company said in statements to both WBRZ and national news outlets, it was working with outside security to investigate if information was compromised.
It’s not immediately known if cable customers or Louisiana retirees’ information was stolen.
Hackers could have also used a Trojan-style attack to get access to systems and manipulate programs or other exploits, ABC News reported.
In a statement to WBRZ, the Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System - more commonly known as LASERS – said it was warned that it appeared on a list of possible government organizations possibly targeted in the cyber-attack. Though, a spokesperson said LASERS does not own or use SolarWinds products but is investigating.
State Police, through its Cyber Crime Unit, is assisting, the agency said.
“Initial scans of our network servers have shown no indication that any LASERS servers have been impacted or infiltrated. A deep-dive investigation continues and the State Police Cyber Crime Unit estimates that it will take up to a week to complete the investigation,” a LASERS spokesperson told WBRZ Chief Investigator Chris Nakamoto Friday.
Cox released a similar statement: “The security of the services we provide is a top priority. Since we first became aware of the SolarWinds vulnerability our teams have been working around the clock to investigate and to apply the patch when it was released. We are continuing our investigation and have engaged third party security experts to assist us. We are closely following new developments as they are released from security experts.”
Read more on the hack from ABC News here.
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