ARRL Ransomware Attack

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Just some notes on the Logbook of The Word (LoTW) cyber incident ransomware attack that happened during the Hamvention (May 15) 2024. [1]

Systems affected

  • Logbook of The World,
  • ARRL Learning center,
  • VEC processing systems - Per reddit[2] these are coming back online and processing is starting as of 2024-06-04
  • W1AW bulletins
  • Newsletter email service (
  • email forwarding service was not effected, but config is unable to be pushed/updated
  • ARRL Store - offline
  • Phone systems are completely offline - online as of 2024-05-31



The following was posted by AA6YQ regarding the architecture of the logbook and DXCC systems. Apparently they use a FoxPro DB, which isn't a name I've heard in years.

The LoTW Server utilizes an SAP database engine.

Note that LoTW does not manage DXCC award credits, VUCC award credits, or WAS award credits. Those are each managed by a dedicated system with which LoTW interoperates.

The DXCC system employs a FoxPro database. The ARRL has twice attempted to re-implement the DXCC system since 2016; both attempts failed.

de AA6YQ


The email below was sent to members. Note the many odd characters are in the source message, they were not added by me. This makes me question the industry experts they have retained in this matter.

The statement is vague and no mention if ARRL funds are being used for payment of any expenses/ransom related to this. Even if the insurance is paying, it's a given we will likely be dropped for renewal and see premiums increase, perhaps to unaffordable levels.

 June 6, 2024
 June 6, 2024
 Dear ARRL member,
 We are writing to inform you of a serious incident that has impacted ARRL’s operations. On or around May 12, 2024, ARRL was the victim of a sophisticated network attack by a malicious international cyber group. We immediately involved the FBI and engaged with third party experts to investigate.
 On May 16, on the eve of the ARRL National Convention in Ohio, we posted a notice on our website to inform members about the incident. Since then, we have made substantial progress to mitigate the impact of this attack on our organization. We have been posting regular updates, including the status of restored services. Please refer to our dedicated news post at [ ] .
 We are aware that certain members believe we should be openly communicating everything associated with this incident. We are working with industry experts, including cyber crime attorneys and the authorities, who have directed us to be conservative and cautious with our communications while restoring the ARRL network.
 Many of our services and programs have been impacted by this attack. We have been diligently assessing each system to ascertain the extent of compromise. For example, while the Logbook of The World® server and related user data were unaffected, we have taken the precautionary measure of keeping the service offline until we can ensure the security and integrity of our networks. Similarly, access to Online DXCC is unavailable, although individual award data remains secure.
 Fortunately, some of our key systems, such as the ARRL website and our association membership system, were unaffected. Despite the severity of the attack, no personal information was compromised. Additionally, ARRL does not store credit card information anywhere on our systems, and we do not collect social security numbers.
 Our Directors have heard from some members who are concerned about managing their membership renewals. Members can renew online at [ ] or by phoning ARRL.
 We understand the frustration and inconvenience this incident has caused, and we sincerely appreciate your patience and understanding as our dedicated staff and partners continue to work tirelessly to restore affected systems and services.
 Thank you for your ongoing support.
 Copyright © 2024 American Radio Relay League, Incorporated. Use and distribution of this publication, or any portion thereof, is permitted for non-commercial or educational purposes, with attribution. All other purposes require written permission.
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On or around May 12, 2024, ARRL was the victim of a sophisticated network attack by a malicious international cyber group. ARRL immediately involved the FBI and engaged with third party experts to investigate.

This serious incident was extensive and categorized by the FBI as “unique,” compromising network devices, servers, cloud-based systems, and PCs.

ARRL management quickly established an incident response team. This has led to an extensive effort to contain and remediate the networks, restore servers, and staff are beginning the testing of applications and interfaces to ensure proper operation.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as our staff continue to work through this with an outstanding team of experts to restore full functionality to our systems and services.

We will continue to update members as advised and to the extent we are able.

No mention about the payment of any ransom or how this is being paid for, ie insurance. It looks like this was exchange being pwnd and everything else from there.

Do you think the League will migrate off of windoze and exchange or go right back to it? (lol, of course they will throw good money after bad and go right back to it.)

* Former Board member Ria Jairam, N2RJ confirms it was a ransomware attack on reddit: I was told it was a ransomware attack.

Coments from N2RJ


ARRL Systems Service Disruption 2024-05-31 at 11.38.49 PM

2023-05-30 Updates from Mike Ritz, W7VO, ARRL 2nd VP

Based on his description of the email server below, it would appear my conclusions about them hosting exchange on prem were correct.

This was reported by Chris NW6V

Mike Ritz, W7VO, ARRL 2nd Vice President, was at the WVDXC club meeting last night, having just attended an ARRL board meeting to discuss the outage. Mike reported those meetings are a weekly event until the matter is resolved.

Everything that was running on INTERNAL servers is down until further notice. That includes their VoIP phone system, their .org email addresses, and front ends for things like LOTW. Everything running on external servers - cloud servers etc. - including LOTW data, is believed unaffected. But, such data will not be available until the internal matters are resolved. Thus, "" doesn't work - because that was on their internal mail server. But "" does - because the relays didn't run internally. I checked, and works.

Efforts to restore the internal systems is proceeding full-time. No time-line can be given. The nature of the problem cannot be discussed.

I believe Mike said - with air asterisks around his words - "We have been advised to say nothing." He responded similarly when asked if "the Feds" were investigating this.

Being that the ARRL is connected to Homeland Security through its disaster response functions, and that personal data (no credit cards) for many relatively important persons are stored in the systems (business, military, science, etc.) such an investigation could very well involve the FBI and Homeland Security.

I (Chris NW6V) was an IT Director in mental healthcare for many years, so security was a big part of my responsibility. As a professional looking at it from the outside, this has all the earmarks of a hack - of sufficient severity that it needed to be reported as a CRIME. At which point, IT is required to lock everything down - every computer and device involved becomes EVIDENCE - until a full investigation by forensics experts - da cops - is conducted. Getting everything back up is NOT job 1. Once the "crime scene" is clear (yellow tape down), THEN the job of recovery can begin. If some kind of hack had wormed into the ARRL system, recovery of local system by restoring backups becomes problematic - it may be difficult to verify that backups contain no trace of the hack. In which case, recovery and restoration of services would be slow and very painful.

This fits what we know about the situation to a "T."

73 Chris NW6V

ARRL response

The ARRL didn't acknowledge this until about a day after it happened, mostly due that everyone was at the Dayton Hamvention. Per the logs on the first outage was on May 14, 2024 at 1417[3]. It then came back and went hard down May 15, 2024 at 0500 AM.

I've saved the screenshot of their outage page here.

Screenshot 2024-05-30 at 17-59-41 ARRL Systems Service Disruption.png

Now it would be the worst time for anything to go down is when everyone is traveling, and especially for an small non-profit org like the ARRL. Based on the timing, it's likely this was not a random coincidence. Who ever got in managed to take several of their systems offline simultaneously and picked the time to do it. Typically incidents begin months ahead of time now so that even if you have backups, they get in and are part of the backups.

I speculate they are cryptolocked and their active data has been locked. Restoring from backup is hard as you can't trust the backups, if they work. This is much harder in a windoze environment like the ARRL runs as well, since backups are harder and windoze is often hard to patch or left upgraded as old software must be maintained. Add in that it's a small non-profit, and it is a massive problem.


The ARRL hosts most of these things on site at headquarters. We know this as they have from Crown Castle delivered to them via fiber.

# start

NetRange: -
NetName:        LTF--104-207-196-0-27
NetHandle:      NET-104-207-196-0-1
Parent:         CROWNCASTLE-104-207-192-0 (NET-104-207-192-0-1)
NetType:        Reassigned
OriginAS:       AS46887
Customer:       ARRL (C07477604)
RegDate:        2019-12-24
Updated:        2019-12-24
Comment:        1

CustName:       ARRL
Address:        225 Main Street
City:           Newington
StateProv:      CT
PostalCode:     06111-1494
Country:        US
RegDate:        2019-12-24
Updated:        2019-12-24

Based on some history we know that the ARRL uses for outbound connections from their desktops/lan (a likely NAT device).

Looking at other things in this subnet, we know the following:  - a cisco, likely the providers box  - a Palo Alto (PTR is  - (Online DXCC)  - mailman 2.1.18 -, some sort of Raspberry Pi device reporting Apache/2.4.38 (Raspbian) - PTR (not active) - PTR (not active) - PTR (not active) - PTR - Linux - (but the PTR is a windoze box with  Microsoft-IIS/10.0 win 10 - PTR (not active) - (not active) - PTR (not active) - PTR (not active) but was  Apache 2.4.6 on centos - main windoze mail exchanger / outlook - some box with RDP open on it. - ARRL FTP service - PTR 

Taken from here

Screenshot 2024-05-30 at 18-15-16 - dns recon and research find and lookup dns records

We can reasonably assume the provider is handing off the entire /27 from their router, meaning there is no firewall or other device between the internet and the devices plugged in, and between the devices themselves. This last part is important as they likely can get into one device and then use it to attack the others via a local switch, as it's unlikely each device has it's own firewall port. Now they could be doing a layer2 firewall, and lets hope they are, but a firewall is just one part of this. There are several OS's there which should never be exposed to the internet and likely some are straddling the internal and external networks. This then becomes a jump point that can bypass their main NAT firewall.


Someone forwarded an email with a link to the Mexican mirror to the ARRL. The person at the league who received this email, blindly clicked on the link.

Below are the logs from apache on this mirror showing the as the requesting IP. - - [03/Apr/2024:08:05:53 -0500] "GET /hello.jpg HTTP/1.1" 200 21678 "" "Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 10.0; Win64; x64) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/ Safari/537.36 Edg/"

So yes, we know the ARRL staff is prone to opening random links (and who the heck doesn't know goatse?)..


On the 1st of april 2024 I was signed up for a mailing list with no notice by the ARRL. This was for the technical specialists and I think I had signed up for that over 10 years prior. Some how my email was still on file somewhere and added to a mailing list. Ok, I figured it out and then finally they posted what they want to do, but it took almost a day, and it was all boomer hams bitching about being unable to unsubscribe due to the mailing list being set to need admin approval to unsubscribe!

I noticed this was handled on via,, and it was running a version of mailman which had know vulnerabilities in it. I emailed the admin at that time:

From: Bryan Fields <>
Subject: you need to upgrade mailman now.
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 2 Apr 2024 09:39:53 -0400
User-Agent: Mutt/1.12.0 (2019-05-25)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8
Content-Language: en-US
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 8bit

2.1.18 is ancient and has a bunch of vulnerabilities.

Bryan Fields

727-409-1194 - Voice 

I ended up leaving this list, but revised the headers on the emails I have in light of the current issues. It would appear that this all went through the local mail exchange server at What's bad here is this is leaking the internal IP's of the local LAN at the ARRL,, and is running an old version of exchange 15.1.2242.12 from 2021. This could have been an attack vector and allowed an attacker to get into local desktops and perhaps find ssh keys or access to the other servers.

File:Welcome to the "Arrl-lab-collaborators" mailing list - ( - 2024-04-01 1400.eml

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The ARRL really needs to step up their game on the IT security but more importantly us members need a good amount of updates on this. Be honest and forthright about what's happened. While it's bad, it's the fault of the blackhats who did this. If there's a ransom to be paid, the members need to be informed of this, even if covered by insurance.

The league must present a root cause report of this so we can learn from it. Anything less will be viewed as a coverup by the members.