A ransomware attack is at its most dangerous level when it is targeted at a government institution, especially the police department. Case in point; Atlanta’ Police Department’s failure to remove ransomware resulted in the loss of years of data recently.
The attack took place on 22nd March this year by a ransomware known as SamSam. $51,000 worth of Bitcoin was demanded in ransom, though it was not paid. The data consisted mainly of the footage of the dashboard camera on the police cars. When the news broke, many people feared that this may affect the ongoing as well as previous investigations. Special concern was raised for Driving under Influence (DUI) investigations as dashboard camera footage was thought to be crucial in these cases.
However, Atlanta’s Police Chief Ms.Shields reassured that no data has been compromised that could endanger police investigations. She elaborated that there are several factors in DUI investigations other than dashboard camera footages, including testimony from the officers in charge as well as those of the witnesses that are enough to implicate someone.
Moreover, she reiterated that while dashboard camera footage are an important part of police evidence, there are several components that are more crucial in an investigation and can help them charge criminals effectively. When asked about the possibility of the recovery of the dashboard camera footage through ransomware removal, she replied in the negative. She further clarified that footage from the cameras worn on the bodies of officers was not compromised.
However, it could have been much more. Fortunately, the Atlanta Police Department was able to remove ransomware in the initial stages of the attack as they were able to save other pieces of evidence from their investigations or else they would have met the same fate as the police departments in Ohio and Texas who were unable to remove ransomware at the right time, costing them crucial evidence and putting many of their investigations in jeopardy.
Since a police department is linked to other institutions like banks, judiciary and public records, consequently the impact of the attack is wide. Ransomware Removal is a tough situation and hence you need to enhance the security of your system.