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City of Shafter hit by ransomware attack

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After suffering a ransomware attack over the weekend, the city of Shafter's IT system has been compromised and is unable to be unlocked.

"Ultimately these people want to disrupt the city services that are being offered in such a way that forces the township or city to have to pay the ransom that's being levied against them,” Kierk Sanderlin, a cyber security expert, said.

Sanderlin says attacks like these are becoming increasingly common.

"In 2019, a 60 percent increase against state, local governments, municipalities and such,” he said.

The city is working federal law enforcement agencies to determine the source and extent of the unauthorized access.

Sanderlin says smaller cities, like Shafter, are often times easier targets for cyber criminals.

"In many cases, particularly some of these smaller communities, because they don't have a decent cyber security budget or a highly trained staff. So that makes them kind of easy pickings, if you will, for some of these ransomware crews today,” he said.

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And while Shafter doesn't think any personal information about city residents has been obtained, Sanderlin advises people to still be careful.

"Monitor your credit, monitor transactions that you may see in the future related to things that could have been compromised where you were conducting business with that municipality,” Sanderlin said.
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