Russian-language ransomware group claims responsibility for DC police hack: report

A Russian-language ransomware group has claimed responsibility for a DC police data breach, according to a report.

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According to the Associated Press, Babuk – whom he describes as a “relatively new ransomware gang” – claims that the data he stole includes information about informants, whom he threatened to share with local criminals, unless the police pay a ransom.

The group is said to have claimed to have stolen more than 250 gigabytes of data.

On Monday, the department confirmed to FOX 5 that it had suffered a data breach, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation was investigating.

On Tuesday evening, DC Police Chief Robert Contee addressed the incident, saying the mechanism that allowed the violation to occur had been blocked.

He said DC Police and other agencies are still trying to determine what data was compromised.

“If it is discovered that the personal information of our members or others has been compromised, we will follow up with additional information,” Contee said.

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The Babuk Group, a relatively new ransomware gang, said on its website that it had “downloaded a sufficient amount of information from your internal networks” and gave the police three days to contact it or “we’ll start. to contact gangs in order to drain informants. “

A cybersecurity expert who spoke to FOX 5 said the ransoware attack could have used several means to gain access to police servers. And that requires a response on many levels, including better cyber defenses and better training.

“Babuk is ransomware and they are relatively sophisticated so it was definitely a targeted attack. It is not known how they got into it as we discussed, but they are very adept at using security vulnerabilities against organizations, so they are just one of many ransomware groups that are becoming more powerful because they are funded and they become more and more sophisticated in their attacks, ”said Lou Rabon, Founder and CEO of Cyber Defense Group.

The Associated Press says Babuk released screenshots indicating that they had accessed data from at least four computers regarding gang conflicts, prison census data and other administrative records.

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So far this year, 26 government agencies in the United States have been affected by ransomware, with cybercriminals posting stolen online data to 16 of them, said Brett Callow, ransomware analyst at cybersecurity firm Emsisoft. . Ransomware victims don’t always pay, often preferring the arduous task of rebuilding networks from backups.

A growing global epidemic of ransomware attacks is viewed by many as a threat to national security, causing tens of billions of dollars in damage. US law enforcement is relatively powerless to counter this, as most criminals are given safe haven in Russia and other countries with weak rule of law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Sylvester L. Goldfarb