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NEWS | Sept. 11, 2020

Connecticut Guard members respond to Hartford cyberattack

By Capt. David Pytlik Connecticut National Guard

HARTFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut Military Department’s Joint Cyber Response Team responded to a ransomware attack on the city of Hartford and quickly restored critical systems necessary for the start of the school year.

The attack delayed the city schools’ scheduled opening Sept. 8, but the Connecticut National Guard responded less than 12 hours after the request for support and children returned to their classrooms, virtual or in person, the following day.

“This was a severe attack that affected approximately 300 servers, 3,500 computers and 40 schools, but thankfully, the team’s rapid response and assessment in cooperation with the city ensured a swift restoration of services,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Gerald McDonald, deputy commissioner of the Connecticut Military Department. “Our Joint Cyber Response Team is comprised of Soldiers and Airmen with military and corporate experience in several cybersecurity and information technology domains.

"We have the ability to call upon our Guard members and rapidly respond in a state active duty status to cyberattacks with as many as 100 highly skilled cyberwarriors if needed. As always, we stand ready to assist Connecticut and its municipalities as we do with all types of emergencies.”

The first day, the team restored services to the fire and police departments along with schools and their transportation services while also assisting the city’s IT department with immediate triage, incident response, crisis management and mission command.

The second day, the team reviewed system logs to determine the threat actor’s most likely path to intrusion, analyze the threats and vulnerabilities in the city’s existing infrastructure and make prioritized recommendations to prevent subsequent attacks.

The ongoing response and analysis is being coordinated with USCYBERCOMMAND, federal, state and local law enforcement agencies.

The Connecticut Military Department’s Joint Cyber Response Team consists of Air and Army National Guard members who serve in a state active duty status to provide defensive cyber capabilities to Connecticut and its municipalities.



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