Over the past year, ransomware has become an increasingly big problem, not just for you and me, but for larger organizations and governments too.
According to Washington DC’s police department and the city’s technology office, police surveillance cameras were hit little over a week before newly elected President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Around 70% of storage devices that record data from D.C. police surveillance cameras were affected and left the police unable to record any footage from the cameras between January 12 and January 15.
The attack incapacitated 123 of 187 network video recorders in a closed-circuit TV system for public spaces across the city, officials said late Friday.
Brian Ebert, a Secret Service official, claims that the attack did not compromise public safety, however. Archana Vemulapalli, the city’s Chief Technology Officer, said that the problem was resolved by simply removing the storage devices, wiping them, and then restarting them, and that no ransom was paid to the attackers. An investigation into the source of the hack continues, said Vemulapalli, adding that the only cameras affected were the police CCTV cameras that monitor public areas and that the attack did not extend deeper into D.C. computer networks.
The network video recorders are connected to as many as four cameras at each site, explained Vemulapalli, “There was no access from these devices into our environment.”
The attack was discovered on January 12, when police officers found four cameras that weren’t working. Upon closer inspection, they discovered that the cameras had two types of ransomware embedded. This prompted an investigation of other cameras in a city-wide sweep. The cameras are now back up and running after roughly 48 hours of maintenance.