Image : Ransomware
The U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), a federal law enforcement agency within the Department of Justice, took a major hit with a ransomware attack leading to the theft of sensitive and personal data about agency employees.
Drew Wade, Chief of the Marshals Service public affairs, said on Monday that the incident that occurred on 17th February involved a standalone system that immediately disconnected after the breach. Although the Marshals acted “swiftly and efficiently to tamp down any risks associated with the breach” the damage was already done.
“The affected system contains law enforcement sensitive information, including returns from legal process, administrative information, and personally identifiable information pertaining to subjects of USMS investigations, third parties, and certain USMS employees,” the spokesperson said.
This major attack raises questions regarding the Justice Department’s cybersecurity protocols and maintenance. This is not the first time cybercriminals have targeted a government agency, nor will it be the last.
The Department of Justice has launched a forensic investigation into the ransomware attack, Wade said.
“The US Marshals Service is one of America’s highest ranking law enforcement authorities, and it possesses highly sensitive information related to national security, witness protection programs and convicted felons. As a result, the information obtained in this breach will be highly sensitive and could be used in extortion, sold onto nation state actors, or even put the safety of US citizens at risk if their personal information, like address details, are exposed,” Ryan McConechy, senior consultant at Barrier Networks, said in an emailed comment.
Ransomware attacks have become one of the world’s most notorious and serious cybersecurity crimes. They are capable of ruining nations and destroying thousands of lives. Government agencies, schools, bureaus, hospitals, banks, etc. are some of the most common targets of ransomware attacks.
Although the FBI and other law enforcement try their best to disrupt ransomware gangs and potential attacks, there are many who still get away even after committing such heinous crimes.