Hackers Encrypt Police Department Files, Cops Pay Ransom To Get Data Back

Cassius Methyl
November 17, 2014

(TheAntiMedia) A ‘ransomware’ called Cryptowall recently infected the Dickson County Sheriff department’s report management system, and the Tennessee department was forced to pay $572 to get the stolen files back.

A hacker by the alias of ‘Nimrod Gruber’ sent the demands. An on-screen message appeared on a department computer saying they had a limited time to pay the fee or have their info permanently locked.

A Sheriff who dealt with the situation,  Sheriff Jeff Bledsoe said “Cryptowall works by encrypting files on any attached storage devices with a high-level encryption scheme,

“My first response is we are not going to be held hostage. We are not going to pay a fee to get our records back,” Bledsoe said. “But once it was determined which records were involved and that they were crucial to victims of crimes in this county, and to the operations of the sheriff’s office and the citizens of this county…I had no choice but to authorize to pay this.” he continued.

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and the FBI advised they submit to the hackers demands and pay.

The Sheriff paid out of his own money immediately through Western Union, and county commissioners reimbursed him for the money.

The sheriff who sent the Western Union money also said “Although a substantial portion of the data encrypted on the report management server was able to be restored from backups, there were still approximately 72,000 files affected on the host computer, which introduced the malware to the network and the report management system and the attached drives,”

Concerning the data that was locked, he said it consisted of “documents vital to our ongoing investigations, booking documents, records, records of issued equipment, documents related to current and past prosecutions and other non-replaceable documents,”.

Things like this will probably be used in the future as an excuse to pass laws granting the government power over technology that could easily be abused.

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