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Georgetown County ransomware attack impacts license plate decals for residents

US accuses Chinese hackers in targeting of COVID-19 research
By ERIC TUCKER Associated...
US accuses Chinese hackers in targeting of COVID-19 research By ERIC TUCKER Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department has accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and more recently targeting firms developing a coronavirus vaccine. Officials expected to discuss the indictment at a news conference Tuesday. The indictment says the hackers in recent months had researched vulnerabilities in the computer networks of Massachusetts and Maryland companies publicly known for their work in developing vaccines and treatments. The indictment includes charges of trade secret theft and wire fraud conspiracy against the hackers, who federal prosecutors say stole information they knew would be of interest to the Chinese government. The Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C., hasn't commented. WASHINGTON (AP) — The Justice Department on Tuesday accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and more recently targeting firms developing a vaccine for the coronavirus. The indictment, which officials expected to discuss at a news conference, says the hackers in recent months had researched vulnerabilities in the computer networks of companies publicly known for their work in developing vaccines and treatments. The indictment includes charges of trade secret theft and wire fraud conspiracy against the hackers, who federal prosecutors say stole information not only for themselves but also that they knew would be of interest and value to the Chinese government. The charges are believed to be the first accusing foreign hackers of targeting scientific innovation related to the coronavirus, though U.S. and Western intelligence agencies have warned for months about those efforts. Last week, for instance, authorities in the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom accused a hacking group with links to Russian intelligence with trying to target research on the disease. "China has now taken its place, alongside Russia, Iran and North Korea, in that shameful club of nations that provide a safe haven for cyber criminals in exchange for those criminals being 'on call' to work for the benefit of the state, here to feed the Chinese Communist party's insatiable hunger for American and other non-Chinese companies' hard-earned intellectual property, including COVID-19 research," Assistant Attorney John Demers, the Justice Department's top national security official, said in a statement. There was no immediate indication from the indictment that the hackers had successfully obtained any COVID-19 research, despite efforts to snoop on the companies. But prosecutors say the defendants in January conducted reconnaissance on the computer network of a Massachusetts biotech firm known to be researching a potential vaccine and searched for vulnerabilities on the network of a Maryland firm less than a week after it said it was conducting similar scientific work. The case was filed earlier this month in federal court in Washington state and was unsealed on Tuesday. The Justice Department has accused two Chinese hackers of stealing hundreds of millions of dollars of trade secrets from companies across the world and more recently targeting firms developing a coronavirus vaccine.(Source: Gray News)
Updated: Mar. 15, 2021 at 9:39 PM EDT
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GEORGETOWN COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – If you paid your vehicle tax in January, February or March in Georgetown County, you will have to take a trip to the DMV.

The Georgetown County Treasurer’s Office is still unable to connect to the system at the DMV following the ransomware attack on the county’s system in January. It’s unclear when it will be fixed.

RELATED COVERAGE | Georgetown County falls victim to cyber attack

That means residents will need to contact the DMV to receive their license plate decal instead of receiving it in the mail.

Georgetown County leaders said they know it’s a frustrating situation for many residents and they are working to solve the problem as quickly as possible.

“The county’s system is clean and ready to reconnect, but the state requires the county provide a forensic report as proof the system is clean,” according to Georgetown County. “However, the criminal case involving the attack remains open and the agency the county is working with to create the report doesn’t generally issue such reports until a case is closed.”

The county is negotiating a remedy so the DMV can be reconnected to the treasurer’s office.

But until a solution can be found, online payments of vehicle taxes is not currently being accepted. Residents can either pay in person or via mail.

Those who paid their vehicle taxes online before the feature was turned off and who have not received a decal must bring proof of payment to the Georgetown County Treasurer’s Office and pick up a receipt to deliver to the DMV and an instruction sheet with directions for obtaining their decal.

Contact the treasurer’s office at 843-545-3098 for more information.

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