Small-town police department pays ransom to hackers

A small-town police department in Massachusetts was forced to pay hackers a ransom of $500 after they encrypted important data, according to reports.

The Tewksbury Police Department, which described the hackers as “cyber terrorists,” said its options ran out after security experts could not gain access to the files.

{mosads}Even the FBI could not break the hackers’ encryption, the department said.

The police chief first noticed the problem in December when he had difficulty opening arrest records in the department database, WHDH News reported.

Soon, a message appeared on the screen, saying: “If you really value your data, then we suggest you do not waste valuable time searching for other solution because they do not exist.”

The perpetrator of the hack was never identified.

The hostage-taker had “encrypted much of the data and made it inaccessible as far as for our dispatchers and for our police officers and for the firefighters and fire stations,” Police Chief Timothy Sheehan told CBS Local.

“We certainly don’t advocate negotiating with cyber terrorists but this happened to be the perfect storm,” he said.

The $500 ransom was paid in bitcoin, a digital currency often used by cyber thieves because it is hard to trace.


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