Ransomware Attack Wipes Out Police and Fire Department Data

The city of Riverside’s Police and Fire department has been hit by a ransomware attack once again – This means the department has come under cyber attack for the second time in the last few weeks.

Previously, the same department was under ransomware attack on April 23rd, 2018, in which unknown hackers compromised its computer systems and locked sensitive data including records containing information about ongoing investigations.

However, on May 3rd, hackers targeted Ohio’s Riverside police and fire servers once again and infected its system with malware. The news of this attack was only made public on Thursday, May 10 when the U.S. Secret Service agents begin their investigations into the attack.

Reportedly, the second attack was less damaging than the one that crippled the city’s server last month. According to City Manager Mark Carpenter, it is unclear how the attack took place and exactly what happened during the attack since the matter is still under investigation. However, he confirmed that it was a malware attack leading to ransomware infection.

See: How To Prevent Growing Issue of Encryption Based Malware (Ransomware)

In a ransomware attack, a targeted computer system is compromised and taken over by attackers to display ransom note. In most cases, attackers demand ransom in Bitcoin due to its untraceable transaction system while demands in Monero cryptocurrency have also increased recently.

In the city of Riverside’s case, it is unclear if there was any ransom demand from the attackers though Carpenter confirmed that attackers were able to wipe out eight hours worth of data from the server. The good news, however, is that the city kept a back up of its data.

“Everything was backed-up, but we lost about eight hours worth of information we have to re-enter,” he said. “It was our police and fire records, so we just re-enter the reports,” said Carpenter.

This is not the first time when a Police department in the United States has come under ransomware attack. Last year, Cocker Hill’s Police Department lost crucial digital evidence after its computer system was held to ransom and there was no backup.

What would you do should your system has been infected with ransomware? It is a fact that FBI tells victims to pay the ransom, however, this is not the solution as it only encourages cybercriminals to boost their activities. But keeping a backup will help you big time.

Also, Kaspersky and Intel assisted by Europol and Dutch Police recently launched an anti-ransomware website ‘No More Ransom’ in order to assist Internet users against ransomware by recovering their files for absolutely free to stop them from paying ransom to criminals.

Image credit: Depositphotos

See: Ransomware attack on KQED TV, Radio Station wiped out pre-recorded segments

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.