VMS Malware Update
As publicized in the October 30 edition of “What’s Up in the Village” and on several segments of TV6’s “This Day” with CEO Jeff Parker, Laguna Woods Village has been navigating a data incident that impeded normal VMS operations. The Village financial system and external resident-facing systems remain functional, but some internal systems remain inoperable.
Unfortunately, malware attacks aimed at a growing number of municipalities, hospitals and businesses—like VMS—are on the rise. Criminals infiltrate servers, encrypt data denying the victim access, and hold the decryption key for ransom.
We have notified the FBI and local law enforcement about the incident and worked with a team of highly qualified professionals to investigate and resolve the incident. Working with these trusted advisors, VMS did pay a modest amount and received the decryption key in return. Rumors regarding the amount paid—$1 million or more—are greatly exaggerated. Neither resident assessments nor reserve accounts are impacted as a result of this incident. VMS now has access to all data, which is being carefully reviewed and analyzed to ensure no malware is present.
Our investigation is ongoing, and we will provide additional relevant information when it becomes available. In the meantime, we wanted to take this opportunity to warn our community that identity theft, malware attacks and online scams are increasing and are common during the holidays. More people are shopping online, and many are using internet-based services to avoid exposure to COIVD-19. As a precautionary measure, please remain vigilant in reviewing your financial account statements and monitoring credit reports. If you detect any suspicious activity on an account, promptly notify the financial institution or company with which the account is maintained. Further, promptly report any fraudulent activity or suspected identity theft to proper law enforcement authorities, including the police and your state’s attorney general, as well as the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). In addition, you may wish to review the FTC’s tips on fraud alerts, security/credit freezes and steps to take to avoid identity theft. For more information, visit www.ftc.gov/idtheft or call 1-877-ID-THEFT (1-877-438-4338).
We value the trust you place in us and take our responsibility to safeguard personal information very seriously, and we apologize for any concern this incident may have caused.
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