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Experts help Indianapolis Housing Agency address cyberattack

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Housing Agency said it suffered a ransomware attack last week.

Ransomware attacks occur when hackers gain access to a computer system, steal the data, then demand payment in exchange for returning the data.

The agency issued a statement about the attacks.

“We have been working closely alongside our internal IT teams and external IT consultants, and we have sought the help of forensics experts to help us address this issue. IHA has also engaged law enforcement, who are working to identify those involved.”

The authority provides financial assistance to those struggling to pay rent and utilities.

Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett said, “When we first learned about the breach, we contacted IHA and made sure they were ramping up and scaling up the technological expertise that they need to protect the data that may be subject to compromise.”

Although the cause of this ransomware attack is still under investigation, hackers can usually gain access by sending an unsuspecting email.

Apu Kapadia, professor of computer sciences at Indiana University’s Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, said, “Phishing attack is when you get an email that looks like it came from a friend or someone trustworthy, but that sender address has been spoofed.”

It’s difficult to track down the perpetrators of these attacks because they could originate from a different country.

The Democrat mayor says he’s making sure no other city agencies fall victim to a similar cyberattack.

“In the interest of full disclosure we made sure that the city of Indianapolis was firewalled, appropriately, so that our data would not be breached as the result of an intrusion,” Hogsett said.

The authority says it’s working with its bank and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to make sure landlords and vendors are paid.