Defense Contractor in ‘Panic Mode’ After Paying Ransom

This supplier of electronics counts the US Department of Defense and DARPA amongst its customers.


There is a ton of research out there that has concluded that many companies are completely unprepared for the prospect of a data breach. In fact, a recent report by Verizon says that that 43 percent of the business owners and managers that it surveyed said they’d sacrificed security to focus on other concerns.

And a recent case out of California confirms that this kind of logic is evident at companies of every caliber, including one supplier of electronics that counts the US Department of Defense and DARPA amongst its customers.

Tech Crunch is reporting that defense contractor Communications & Power Industries, or CPI, was knocked offline by a ransomware attack in mid-January, and they still haven’t recovered.

Tech Crunch says the company confirmed the attack and it’s been reported that they also paid a $500,000 ransom shortly after it happened, a response companies sometimes resort to when they fear sensitive internal files could be leaked.

In this case, a source says some of the CPI computers contain files related to a naval weapons system developed by Lockheed Martin called Aegis. And all it took, according to the report, was a network admin clicking on a malicious link, which triggered the malware.

Tech Crunch says that “because the thousands of computers on the network were on the same, unsegmented domain, the ransomware quickly spread to every CPI office, including its on-site backups.”

Because of the widespread nature of the attack, is is reported that CPI only has about a quarter of its machines back up and running. The source described the company as being in “panic mode.”

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