“This demonstrates something that is not a Richmond problem – it is a national issue,” he said.
A criminal investigation is under way, led by the Virginia State Police with help from the FBI, to determine who was behind the attack.
Warner, who is in Richmond to attend the inauguration of Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin on Saturday, said “no definitive amount” of ransom was demanded by the attackers and the state declined to follow them “into the Dark Web ” of the internet to find out.
He said he has no evidence that any foreign countries, such as Russia or China, were involved in the Virginia attack, but he noted that national adversaries like to disrupt government operations in the U.S., including those at the state level.
“These are the kinds of things our adversaries like to mess with,” he said.
Warner said the state discovered at the end of last March that someone had penetrated the system. IT experts thought they had rid the system of malware implanted by the attackers, but they saw evidence this fall that they were wrong.
“They thought they had cleared out the bad guys,” he said, but “the bad guys were still in the system.”
Warner said the legislature’s IT agency is “well, well down the path” of disinfecting the compromised computer systems.