Ransomware Attack Hits Police Camera Network in DC

Media Division | January 30, 2017

A recent cyber attack days before the inauguration of President Donald Trump left surveillance cameras in Washington D.C. unable to record their video feeds.

According to what officials had told the Washington Post, a cyber attack was able to plant ransomware within the recorders for the surveillance cameras in public spaces across the city.  The city did not pay the ransom, but rather took steps to get their systems back online.  70 percent of the recorders were affected, and it resulted in the city having to shut down the devices, remove the ransomware, and then reboot the systems. 123 of 187 recorders were infected by the malware, and cameras were left unable to record from Jan 12th to Jan 15th.

Fortunately, according to Archana Vemulapalli, Washington’s CTO, the incident only affected the close circuit TV system, and did not affect any other D.C. government networks or systems.  She also said that the incident is currently undergoing an investigation to locate the source of the attack.  Brian Ebert, a Secret Service official, stated that the safety of public and protectees was not jeopardized.  No further details have been released in regard to the attack.

What was the Purpose of the Attack

The timing of the attack raises an interesting question: was this related to the inauguration in any way?  There were several riots that took place on inauguration day, but there has been no information released as to whether there was any correlation between the cyber attack and the riots, or President Trump’s inauguration.  The attack could have been targeted to eliminate the recording capabilities so that some other illicit activity could take place without being recorded.  Though, while the timing does seem suspicious, this is all purely speculation, and no official news has been released regarding anything that took place during this downtime.  Perhaps as the investigation closes in on the perpetrator, further details will be discovered and released.

Cyber attacks can target organizations of all types, which makes it critical that formidable cyber security is thoroughly in place.  Businesses, individuals, nonprofits, governments, and other organizations can all be lucrative sources of illicit gains for cyber criminals.  Whether an organization or individual is the target of ransomware, or some other type of threat, Massive Alliance can provide comprehensive cyber security implementations to prevent cyber attacks.

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