DC police block mechanism that allowed hack on computer network

WTOP's JJ Green reports on a very serious hacking group taking credit for the hack on D.C. police

D.C.’s acting police chief provided an update on the breach on the department’s computer network for which a Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate is claiming responsibility and threatening to share the data with local criminal gangs unless a ransom is paid.

“Working with our D.C. government and federal partners, we have identified what occurred and have blocked the mechanism that allowed the unauthorized access,” Acting Chief Robert Contee said in a video statement.

A Russian ransomware syndicate known as Babuk claimed to have stolen more than 250 gigabytes of data, including police reports and internal memos, some of it related to gang activity.

The group told D.C. police that it had three days to pay an unspecified ransom before it sold the information on the dark web, The Associated Press reported.

Contee advised all D.C. police officials to maintain “good cyber hygiene,” including using complex passwords, multilayered login authentication and not clicking on unknown links and emails. He asked that all suspicious emails be sent to phishing@dc.gov before opening them.

“If in the course of the review, if it was discovered that personal information of our members or others was comprised, we will follow up with additional information,” Contee said.

Investigators are still assessing the impact of the hack.

WTOP’s J.J. Green contributed to this report. 

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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