Leaked D.C. Police Personnel Files Latest in Extortion Scourge

A hacking group published what it said were personnel files on nearly two dozen people stolen from Washington’s Metropolitan Police Department.

The breach is the latest in a wave of cyberattacks where criminal gangs steal data from organizations and threaten to leak it unless they receive an extortion fee, which can be in the millions of dollars.

The police department didn’t respond to messages seeking comment Wednesday. ABC News reported that police confirmed the incident and said in a statement “approximately 20 members’ information was released” on Tuesday as a result of access to its network obtained by “unauthorized parties.” The department added that it has advised all its employees on how to sign up for credit monitoring to prevent identity theft from any stolen information, according to ABC News.

Vice, which analyzed the leaked data, reported that it included background investigations on 22 applicants for police officer positions with the department and that information in the files included medical evaluations, financial history and the results of polygraph tests. The hackers claimed they leaked the data after the police department offered only $100,000 to prevent its disclosure, short of the hackers’ demand for $4 million, according to Vice.

Another high-profile ransomware attack is playing out against Colonial Pipeline Co. and shut the nation’s biggest gasoline pipeline last Friday. Colonial paid a $5 million ransom to the hackers and received the keys to decrypt the data on computers that had been locked by the attackers, Bloomberg News reported. The pipeline began to resume some operations on Wednesday, six days after it was taken offline. Another attack against San Diego-based Scripps Health has disrupted operations at the health care provider’s facilities since May 1.

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