WASHINGTON, March 1 (AP) WASHINGTON, March 1 (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service’s computer systems were severely compromised by ransomware this month, with hackers stealing sensitive and personally identifiable data about agency employees and targets of investigations, an agency spokesman said Tuesday.
Shortly after the data breach and stolen data was discovered on February 17, the hacked system was disconnected from the network. The Justice Department determined it was a significant incident and launched an investigation because law enforcement officers worked “quickly and efficiently” to contain any associated risk of the violation, agency spokesman Drew Wade said Tuesday.
Read also | Chinese President Xi Jinping is targeting consumers and investment to revive a stagnant post-COVID economy.
NBC News first reported the hack.
The incident is the latest example of cybercriminals targeting government agencies in a ransomware plot and has raised questions about the Justice Department’s cybersecurity protocols.
Read also | Nikki Haley has slammed Pakistan as one of the “bad guys”, saying “the US will not be the world’s cash machine”.
Ransomware attacks have become the world’s most serious cybersecurity problem. They have crippled everything from Britain’s postal service to Ireland’s national health network to the government of Costa Rica. Schools, hospitals and local governments are often targeted.
The FBI and international law enforcement officials emerged victorious last month by dismantling, at least temporarily, a prolific ransomware ring and saving $130 million in ransom payments.
In a ransomware attack, organized groups break into computer networks and spread malware that cripples the network by encrypting data. But before the ransomware is activated, they steal data. Even if the target uses the backup data to quickly restore the affected network, criminals can hijack the data.
The agency said the hacked U.S. Marshals systems contained sensitive law enforcement information and personally identifiable information about subjects of investigation and certain U.S. Marshals employees.
In May 2021, hackers targeted the largest fuel pipeline in the United States, causing the operator to briefly shut down the pipeline and pay a multimillion-dollar ransom, which the federal government has since largely recouped.
A hacker claimed in December to have breached an outreach program run by the FBI that shares sensitive information about national security and cybersecurity threats with public and private officials running critical U.S. infrastructure. (Associated Press)
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)