Washington, DC. – The DC Metropolitan Police Department said Monday its computer network was breached and a Russian-speaking ransomware group has claimed responsibility. The group claims they stole sensitive data on informants and have threatened to share it with gangs unless the police pay an unspecified ransom.
The cyber group posted screenshots on a dark web site and claimed to have stolen 250 gigabytes of data.
The group calls itself “The Babuk Group” and said on its website it had “downloaded a sufficient amount of information from your internal networks” and gave the police three days to contact it or “we will start to contact gangs in order to drain the informants.”
The screenshots posted showed data including intelligence reports, gang information, and other administrative files.
Ransomware hacking groups steal sensitive data from targets, download or encrypt that data, and demand payment to either not release the info or to provide keys to unscramble the encryption.
The majority of the time, these extortion attempts are unsuccessful as most victims choose not to pay the ransom. When this occurs, the victims often have to spend money to rebuild their computer networks, which can be costly.
The D.C. Police issued a statement on the attack, “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.”