Russian-Speaking Ransomware Syndicate Extorts D.C. Police Dept for Money or Will Release ‘All the Data’

The group, Babuk, said negotiations overpayment have broken down and has threatened to release sensitive info

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DC Police
Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images

The United States Washington, D.C. police department has been the victim of a “Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate that stole data” from its department, reports Fox 5 New York.

Just days earlier, a fuel supply up and down the east coast of the United States suffered “a separate ransomware attack on a major pipeline that affected part of the U.S.’s fuel supply, highlighting the power of internet-savvy criminal gangs to sow mayhem from a half a world away with impunity.”

The group, Babuk, said negotiations overpayment have broken down and has threatened to release sensitive information. Babuk stated on its website late Monday that it would release “all the data” it stole from the Washington police department if it does not “raise the price.” “The negotiations reached a dead end, the amount we were offered does not suit us” the group stated.

The group also posted screenshots of the data it gained access to, such as what appear to be disciplinary files for police officers, for example. Experts say that while ransomware gangs are not a new circumstance, “they’ve not seen such aggressive new tactics used before against police departments. The cybercriminal mafias mostly operate in foreign safe havens out of the reach of Western law enforcement” reports Fox5ny.

The same group just last month claims it hacked into the network of the city’s police department and threatened to leak the identities of confidential informants. Fox5ny reports:

Late last month, the group said it had hacked into the network of the city’s police department and threatened to leak the identities of confidential informants unless an unspecified ransom was paid. Experts said such a release could endanger the lives of the informants.

A day after the initial threat was posted, the gang tried to spur payment by leaking personal information of some police officers taken from background checks, including details of officers’ past drug use, finances and — in at least one incident — of past sexual abuse.