Capitol Hill Bans Google and Yahoo Mail Over Ransomware Fears

US Capitol

The House of Representatives has blocked the staffers at the Capitol Hill from accessing any of their emails from Google over concerns that they might face ransomware attacks, sources close to the matter have said. Yahoo Mail was also part of the blacklisted servers as they try to be vigilant before any attack happens.

The House’s Technology Service Desk wrote to the lawmakers at the House to notify them of the increased number of attacks on their networks via third party web based email application such as Yahoo Mail and Gmail. The warning which was given out via email also indicated that the emails were coming from sources which would seem familiar to the people that are in the House. The email then tries to convince the staffers to click on a link and attachment that would be containing malware. These attacks known as phishing attacks in the security industry.

Any device that is connected to the ether internet and wifi of the House can access the domain. This is the domain that Google uses in its hosting of the custom built apps. The move comes after the FBI had warned the Congress about pending attacks. One of the employees at the House said they had started blocking the because early indications of their security systems showed that it might have been hosting a remote access trojan which might have been there since June 2015. The Trojan is named BLT.

House administrative offices have however refused as yet to mention whether there have been any successful attacks, but two sources close to the matter said that there had been two victims to the ransomware attacks after they had clocked on a Word document which was attached to an email. The two managed to get back the files without paying any ransom.

The removal of was done the same day they sent the email to the House employees warning them about potential attacks on the House’s system. The email included information about avoiding websites such as Yahoo and any Google operated app.

A former staffer at the House, Ted Henderson said the House had been suspending networks for some time now. He also highlighted that two apps that he had created for use by staffers at the house which was hosted on Google had also been suspended. The two apps were for House employees to use and discussed politics and share any alerts they get for any of the votes they might be campaigning for. To date, this was the first time that the House had gone to such extents security wise.