By Brian Maass

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado Department of Transportation has ordered an estimated 2,000 employees to shut down their computers following a ransomware attack Wednesday morning.

Amy Ford, a CDOT spokesperson, said employees were instructed to turn off their computers at the start of business Wednesday after ransomware infiltrated the CDOT network.

“We’re working on it right now,” said Ford, who told CBS4, personnel from the state’s Office of Information Technology were working on the problem.

Ransomware is typically a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking user’s files unless a ransom is paid.

Ford said the ransomware that hit CDOT was “holding files hostage until you pay.”

Officials say the ransomware requested bitcoin.

David McCurdy, OIT’s Chief Technology Officer, issued this statement:

“Early this morning state security tools detected that a ransomware virus had infected systems at the Colorado Department of Transportation. The state moved quickly to quarantine the systems to prevent further spread of the virus. OIT, FBI and other security agencies are working together to determine a root cause analysis. This ransomware virus was a variant and the state worked with its antivirus software provider to implement a fix today. The state has robust backup and security tools and has no intention of paying ransomware. Teams will continue to monitor the situation closely and will be working into the night.”

CBS4 Investigator Brian Maass has been with the station more than 30 years uncovering waste, fraud and corruption. Follow him on Twitter @Briancbs4.

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