Hackers have hit police departments in Maine like never before. Multiple police departments in the state had to pay around $300 as ransom for getting back police records from computer hackers. The computers hacked during this incident include several units at the Houlton Police Department and at the Sheriff’s Office in Lincoln County.
Experts have identified the computer virus responsible for causing the mess; it’s a virus called ransomware. Ransomware is a malware that restricts access to the hacked system; to get the restriction removed and gain back the access to the system users need to pay a ransom. To put it more bluntly, in this hacking event, affected police records played the role of hostages.
So far, ransomware has resulted in locking of important data in four towns along with records from Lincoln County; the malware managed to do so as computers of all these centers are connected to a special computer network, a network used for sharing important files and records.
Todd Brackett, the Sheriff of Lincoln County, informed that experts at the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office made several attempts to get back their records. Ron Young, the Damariscotta Police Chief, said that it was very important for them to get back all the records for restarting online operations.
When all attempts failed, the police had no other options left besides paying a ransom and getting back access to all the data stored in the hacked systems. As a result, they decided to pay around $300 as ransom.
To explain their situation Young said that the police departments needed to reinitiate online operations as soon as possible and the only option they could find to make that possible is paying the ransom.
The computers belonging to the Houlton Police Department were infected by the same ransomware. There also, the department had to pay a ransom to get the hacked data freed.
Are you wondering what happened to the ransom amount? The FBI successfully tracked the payment; it had its final destination in a Swiss bank account. The hackers transferred the money into the Swiss bank account in form of digital currency bitcoins. The investigation bureau, however, has not yet been able to establish the hackers’ identity.