FBI asked to investigate 'unauthorized access' of Washington DC police server
WASHINGTON DC - As cybercriminals continue to ramp up attacks on large organizations across the U.S., Washington D.C.'s police department says it is the victim of an alleged ransomware attack and that sensitive information may have been breached, according to a National Public Radio report.
The news outlet says a group that identifies itself as 'Babuk' is claiming responsibility for attack and demanding an undisclosed amount of money. If funds are not received, Babuk says it will release information pulled from the department's systems.
According to NPR, screenshots of alleged arrest records and internal memos were posted on Babuk's website and re-shared online, but sensitive information was not revealed.
The Metropolitan Police Department requested that the FBI investigate the attack, and released a statement that said, in part, "We are aware of unauthorized access on our server. While we determine the full impact and continue to review activity, we have engaged the FBI to fully investigate this matter.”
Experts say the frequency of ransomware attacks on hospitals and other multinational corporations have increased in recent years.
Rob Pritchard, the founder of CyberSecurityExpert.com, told NPR, "It's modern organized crime effectively, operating multi-nationally and often out of jurisdictions that offer a degree of protection from international law enforcement operations either due to inability, indifference or corruption."
Pritchard added that targeting an organization like the Metropolitan Police Department makes sense, because a police department can't tolerate a long outage and, from a criminal's perspective, may seem more likely to pay to take back control of its data and systems.
At this time, the Metropolitan Police Department has not intimated whether or not it intends to pay the demanded ransom.
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