WASHINGTON — Police files containing personal information on some MPD officers were compromised following a cyberattack on one of the DC Police Department’s internal servers, according to acting Chief Robert Contee. Hackers had previously claimed they’d posted confidential officer dossiers online.
In an email sent to DC Police, Contee said files containing personal information had been obtained during a Babuk ransomware attack.
“At this time, I can confirm that HR-related files with Personally Identifiable Information (PII) were obtained,” Contee said in his message. “As we continue to determine the size and scope of this breach, please note that the mechanism that allowed the unauthorized access was blocked.”
Babuk ransomware is a new cybersecurity threat discovered earlier this year. The criminal syndicate has targeted at least five major enterprises, with one firm already paying an $85,000 ransom, according to the cybersecurity company McAfee.
Contee’s note went on to provide information on obtaining credit reports or placing a “fraud alert” on their accounts to help protect officers from identity theft. The chief did not provide any further information on “impacted personnel” but said those affected would be “contacted directly with additional guidance.”
In a video message posted late Tuesday, acting MPD chief Robert J. Contee III said U.S. law enforcement ended the cyber intrusion.
“We have identified what occurred, and blocked the mechanism that allowed the unauthorized access,” Contee said. “If it is discovered that personal information of our members, or others, was compromised, we will follow up with additional information.”
But by Wednesday, hackers circulated images of what they described as confidential officer dossiers. In an interview, Brett Callow, a threat analyst with the cybersecurity company, Emsisoft, said the damage could redefine the ambitions and targets of global hackers.
“This is the most significant hack of a police department to date, without any doubt,” Callow said. “Organizations in this position really have no good option available to them. The fact is, they have had a data breach, and cybercriminals are in possession of their data.”