Police data base in Massachusetts hacked and encrypted by hackers with Cryptowall ransomware, get $500 in ransom money to decrypt it
This is happening again and again in United States with more and more attacks claiming police data base. In February, a police department database in Midlothian, Illinois was hacked and encrypted by hackers with Cryptowall ransomware. The hackers were subsequently paid the ransom money of $500 in Bitcoins to decrypt the database.
The same thing was repeated with Tewksbury, Massachusetts Police department database. The hackers used modus operandi similar to the Midlothian PD hack and encrypted all the police database with Cryptowall ransomware.
The infiltration left the files, including backup copies, locked up and useless.
“It basically rendered us in-operational, with respect to the software we use to run the police department,” Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan told the Tewksbury Town Crier. “It made you feel that you lost control of everything.”
Tewksbury spent several days working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security, Massachusetts State Police, and two digital forensics and security firms to regain access to their data without paying the ransom.
After failing to restore the files to their original form, officials decided to pay the ransom, while also beefing up their cybersecurity to thwart future hacking attempts.
Here also the police paid $500 in Bitcoins to unknown hackers decrypt the database.
The hacking and encrypting with ransomware of Police departments has been a regular feature in United States. The hackers generally use social engineering and spear phishing methods to enter into the police database and unleash the ransomware. The ransom demanded is always in Bitcoins.
During the past year, police in Detroit and a sheriff’s office in Tennessee were also hit by hackers who demanded ransoms in exchange for returning access to law enforcement files. The Tennessee sheriff’s office paid $572 to a hacker according to official police spokesperson. But officials in Detroit decided not to pay the ransom demanded of them after experts determined the infected database wasn’t important enough to get back.
It remains to be seen if FBI and DHS is successfully in curbing this ransomware menace engulfing the US PDs