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Cyberattacks on U.S. Police Departments are a Huge Overlooked National Security Threat

May 5, 2021

The DeBrief

Recently, the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department made headlines when they announced the agency’s computer network had been hacked, with cyberattackers reportedly making off with 250 gigabytes of sensitive data, including the identity of police informants. According to the Associated Press, a “Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate” called the Babuk group claimed responsibility for the cyberattack, threatening to release the stolen data to local criminal gangs unless Metro police paid an unspecified ransom.

The hackers posted screenshots on their website, suggesting the stolen data included intelligence reports, information on gang conflicts, jail census records, and other administrative files. The group said police had until April 28 to pay an unreported ransom or “we will start to contact gangs in order to drain the informants.”