The US Congressional IT department has banned access to Yahoo Mail in the House network due to increase in ransomware attacks in the past few days. As part of an effort to avoid malicious attacks on the network, several other apps including a bunch of Google Apps have also been blocked until they can be deemed safe.
Gizmodo reports that it has been able to access an e-mail from the House technology service desk warning representatives of increased ransomware attacks on the House network. It specifically tells the members that hackers are trying to target third-party email and other apps, like YahooMail and Gmail, and that YahooMail will be blocked with immediate effect until further notice.
The e-mail reads as below:
The e-mail clearly mentions that the type of attacks is indeed ransomware related. Ransomware attacks involve injection of malicious software into systems designed to block access until a sum of money is paid. Recently, some hospitals and schools in the US were hit by similar attacks.
In response to Yahoo being blocked, the company said: "We take the security of our users very seriously, and we're collaborating closely with House IT staff to ensure that they have the right solutions in place to best protect their accounts."
House officials declined to confirm whether any ransomware attack had already taken place due to which they were taking this extreme step. Unlike corporates, a ransomware attack on the legislature goes beyond financial loss and could expose bills, memos, emails and even government employee information.