By Bogdan Popa
A ransomware infection made its way to computers running NYPD’s fingerprint database after a contractor connected to the network to set up a digital display.
The incident happened in October 2018 and caused the LiveScan fingerprint tracking system to be shut down after the NYPD discovered the infection on a total of 23 computers. However, department officials claim the infection “never executed,” which means the ransomware didn’t make any damage, but the NYPD decided to take the system offline out of caution.
Software was reinstalled on 200 computers, according to NYPD officials talking to the New York Post, and the fingerprint database was brought back online the next morning.
“We wanted to get to the bottom of this. Was this plugged in maliciously was really important for us to get to the bottom of this. By Saturday early morning — I remember it was still dark out — we were bringing the system online,” Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology Jessica Tisch was quoted as saying by the cited source.
The ransomware, which typically locks access to files until the victim pays for a decryption key, made its way to the NYPD network when the contractor plugged in a compromised NUC mini-PC that they used to configure the digital display. The NYPD said the vendor was indeed questioned in regard to this incident, but no sanction was given.
Furthermore, the NYPD claims only some 0.1% of the computers in its network were impacted, without any files being locked.
Details on the hacking group behind the infection, the ransomware, and the contractor that operated the compromised device haven’t been shared.
But while the NYPD has clearly narrowly avoided a cyber-nightmare, a potential ransomware infection in the department’s network could have a disastrous impact. The NYPD database is also connected to the larger Statewide Automated Fingerprint Identification System that holds approximately 7 million files, which in the case of a successful ransomware contamination could get locked and whose recovery would keep the system offline for several days in a row.
From : SOFTPEDIA NEWS / Nov 26, 2019
Link : https://news.softpedia.com/news/ransomware-infiltrates-nypd-s-fingerprint-database-causes-system-shutdown-528314.shtml