Criminal hackers have posted on the Internet a massive sensitive file from. The San Francisco Bay Area Transit System’s police department. Which contains specific allegations of child abuse.
The violation comes from the Bay Area Rapid Transit System (BART) Police Department. Alicia Trost, BART’s chief communications officer. Said in an email that officials are investigating. The files posted and that the hackers did not affect BART services. It is not clear when the hack took place.
Criminals are an established group of ransomware hackers. Who attack specific organizations and either encrypt sensitive . Files or threaten to post them on the dark web. According to a review by NBC News, the website BART police posted the leak contained more than 120,000 files.
At least six scanned. Nredacted reports detailing suspected child abuse are among the files. These reports describe . The names and dates of birth of the children at risk and, in some cases, of an adult and the alleged abuse.
Ransomware hackers often demand payment not to share files. The trust declined to share extra information. But files now online state that BART refused to pay. Said Brett Callow, an analyst at cybersecurity firm MCSoft.
The website also has a mental health record form. Where an officer can refer someone for a mental health evaluation. Other files include . The names and driver’s license numbers of contractors working on the BART project. Naming suspects for various crimes and hiring documents for potential officers.
While such leaks of sensitive police files are still rare. Cyber extortion attacks on US public sector organizations, including police departments. Have become common.
According to an MCSoft study. more than 100 networks belonging to local government agencies. Were attacked by ransomware hackers last year. The Treasury Department estimates. that ransomware attacks cost US companies $886 million in 2021. The most recent year for which it has released data.
“Unfortunately. Not enough progress has been made in securing public sector organizations,” Callow said. “They can compromise investigations. leading to sensitive information being leaked . Online and even putting people’s lives at risk – both officials and members of the public.”
In 2021, a different hacker gang breached the Washington. DC, Metropolitan . Police Department and leaked . The sensitive profiles of 22 officers when it refused to pay.
It is also common for these types of hackers to attack school districts. Des Moines Public Schools closed classes . Tuesday due to a “cybersecurity event,” a term often used to describe a ransomware attack. About 2,000 US schools were affected by ransomware in 2022, Microsoft found.