Malware Attack Infects Thousands of Computers, Other Electronic Devices in California

This is a press release from the California Attorney General’s Office:

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, working with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), uncovered more than two thousand computers and other electronic devices infected by malicious software (malware). Attorney General Becerra announced today that the California Department of Justice sent letters to communication service providers encouraging companies to inform customers with identified Internet Protocol (IP) addresses that their devices may contain the malware. The finding stems from a cyberattack that occurred in March 2018. Malware attacks involve the installation of unwelcome software without the user’s consent. The impacted devices receive and obey commands from an outside common source.

“We know that once a computer is infected with malware, the malware operators virtually own that device and can do most anything they want. That’s why it is critical that we continue to identify cybercrimes and take action against those who deploy malware,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Today we took steps to identify one of these cyberattacks. We continue to analyze the malware and work to hold the attackers accountable.”

“This type of cyber-attack is a persistent approach for bad actors. Both hackers and organized crime entities use networks of compromised computers or ‘bots’ to transmit malware or to launch attacks to disrupt nearly any computer system, including critical infrastructure and our personal networks,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “The California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC) is working jointly with the Attorney General’s Office to identify these bad actors and their networks and get them shut down. We must continue preparing for and responding to cyber events with precision, and that requires a proactive approach.”

Malware attacks can lead to an outside source using someone’s device to send spam, steal data, place ransomware programs on computers, turn computer cameras or microphones on, or use the computer to store data.

Attorney General Becerra is committed to containing the spread, operation, and impact of cyberattacks and educating consumers in California about how best to protect themselves from cybercrime.

An example of the letters can be found here.

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18 comments

  • Mobius Dancer

    Yes, and?
    Your smart refrigerator and your security cam system, your microwave any anything else with a computer chip in it is vulnerable to this. Your wifi extender modem is open to this sort of attack
    Now they’ve decided we need to know about it, what are we supposed to do?
    This detail is not made clear – or at least I didn’t find it in the announcement.

  • Becerra is an embarrassment, a traitor to California and America, a promoter of “sanctuary states” and illegal aliens [edit] Only Guv Moonbeam himself is more dangerous.

    • You use “moonbeam” as an insult. Do you even know where he got the nickname?

      • It refers to him being a lunatic, and is not a compliment. I first saw it used years ago in a Doonesbury comic strip, but I don’t know if Gary Trudeau coined it himself or just picked it up somewhere. Given Trudeau’s leftist leanings, the fact that he would ridicule Brown so mercilessly shows just how far from reality Gov. Moonbeam lives. Even if you have inside information that the term was invented by Rainbow Fairybright to show a profound admiration of Brown’s etherial thought processes, nobody in the real world has ever used it in that sense.

  • An excellent question indeed WTH do we do about it if we find we have it??? That “little” detail would certainly be nice!!!

  • Becerra is a idiot

  • Well bless his heart for acknowledging his acknowledgement of what the term malicious means.
    Unwanted, uninvited, ID thefting, malware worm that forces computers to do what your computers don’t want to do.
    Malicious.

  • Old mendo fart

    What worthless news release. The wording “uncovered more than two thousand computers and other electronic devices infected by malicious software” is truly BS. And the letter means nothing. He doesn’t identify the nature of the cyberattack in the news release, but the sample letter states it was a DDOS attack, a truly old-fashioned method of bringing down a web server by flooding it with requests.

    This is nothing special. Virtually every server in the world logs IP addresses… so what they had was a list of IP addresses and they sent letters to the ISP’s responsible for those IP’s. Very routine, happens all the time, no big deal. Having a log of IP addresses is a far cry from “uncovering” infected devices.

    Just a worthless pre-election ploy to make it look like they’re actually doing something about cybersecurity when in fact all they did was follow a routine that any organization would do after an attack of this type. As far as coming even remotely close to the responsible hackers… not a chance.

    • I tend to agree – in the way of such things, a few thousand infections is nothing….and a DDOS? LOL…
      I get hit with attacks all the time, but so far, so good – frequent disk images and basic AV and malware software, plus avoiding gambling sites, porn sites and other honeypots works. Of course if you are seriously attacked they’re gonna get you, but again, good disk imaging reduces the hurt, plus specific backups of data files to the cloud or wherever…..cheers

    • Among barking people a voice of reason.thanks.zoltanwelvart.

  • Divide by Zero

    Wow, this guy is a real digital-don. Malwarebytes was on that one 3 weeks ago.

    • Maybe it was the notice from Malabytes that gave him the idea it would be a useful election tool?
      Regardless – There is really very little that we, as simple citizens, can do about the situation – and it is possible that the security gap is something the government exploits as well – which would account for omitting an actual explanation of the problem and utter lack of a recommended cure.

      • So soon forgotten was the acknowledgment of exploitable backdoors that’s prevalent an all chipsets, and OS environments. And we are nannied with individuals that can not control their clickbait habits. Priceless…

  • Election time yet?

  • So the AG is concerned with malicious software but turns a blind eye towards subversive elements the state gives safe refuge too from the feds?

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