The Police Department of Washington DC says its systems have been ruptured in a targeted cyber-attack, US media reports.
A ransomware group called Babuk is reportedly threatening the department o release sensitive data on police informants. If it isn’t heard what they are saying, and contact them within three days.
The extent of the breach is under investigation by the FBI, citing the Washington DC Police Department the media reports.
Ransomware is used to scramble computer networks and steal informative data.
Attackers target companies or organizations, lock their networks, and demand a massive amount of money to end the breach.
In a statement on Monday, Washington DC’s police department said it was aware of the unauthorized access on their servers.
While they determine the full impact, continue to review activity, they have engaged the FBI thoroughly to investigate the matter. The statement added no further details to it of the cyber-attack, AP news agency reported.
It is not clear if hackers managed to lock the police out of their systems while breaching their network.
Babuk is a Russian-speaking ransomware group that emerged earlier this year. It said it had downloaded enough data from the department’s internal network, according to AP news.
Screenshots are said to have been posted by the group on the dark web and shared on social media. The shared posts suggest that it had gained access to information on police intelligence reports and criminal gang activity.
James Smith is the head of UK-based cybersecurity consultancy Bridewell Consulting. He said a risk for companies and organizations remained even when a ransom is paid.
Houston Rockets, another victim of a cyberattack
Earlier this month, Babuk reportedly targeted the Houston Rockets, basketball team. Moreover, it claimed to have access to documents players financial contract and contract data.
Tracey Hughes, a spokeswoman for Houston Rockets, said that while the group had accessed some information. But it failed to install its ransomware because of a security system in place.
Last week a Russian man in the US cited guilty of plotting to wrest money from the electric car company Tesla. He panned to use ransomware to steal the company’s secrets theft, prosecutors said.
The US government agencies have been targeted 26 times so far this year, according to media reports.