Martin County Tax Collector ‘likely’ hacked by ransomware, expert says | #malware | #ransomware | #education | #technology | #infosec

MARTIN COUNTY — A noted cybersecurity expert says it’s “reasonably likely” that BlackByte ransomware attackers are responsible for the ongoing shutdown of the Martin County Tax Collector’s Office. 

A message posted on the dark web by the hackers could be another piece of evidence pointing to their responsibility for the “security incident” that has shut down most services at the office for more than two weeks. 

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The message tells the Tax Collector’s Office that BlackByte has “decided to provide you a free decryption so you can work further … We are asking your IT team to write us. To our mail. So we can help you get your system back to work again.” 

Brett Callow, threat analyst at global cybersecurity firm Emsisoft, which earlier this year helped solve the Colonial Pipeline Co. ransomware attack, told TCPalm he discovered the message on the group’s website while doing general intel gathering. 

It appears to have been posted in the last 24 hours, Callow said Monday. 

The dark web has online content that is only accessible by certain software or authorizations and is typically associated with illegal activity, according to digital security company Norton. 

The message — together with public records showing BlackByte initially was identified as the culprit behind the shutdown of the Tax Collector’s Office, Callow said, strengthens the possibility it is responsible. 

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