(KRON) – Hackers have targeted the BART Police Department, and cybersecurity experts suggest a notorious Russian group might be behind it.
Experts explained that government agencies like law enforcement are considered soft targets because they are not spending enough to reinforce their digital documents. Criminals are increasingly extorting American agencies including schools, infrastructure and law enforcement.
Sensitive documents were leaked onto the dark web following last Friday’s hacking of BART. “Now what happens is they start talking to BART about paying them money. ‘If you don’t pay us money, we will post something on the web’,” said Ahmed Banafa, San Jose State professor and cybersecurity expert.
Banafa said this attack might have been at the hands of the Russian-based Vice Society hackers based on a signature style of the means of which they got into BART police’s system. This is unfortunately growing into a common problem.
According to the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, there were more than 1,300 reports of suspicious activity last year among public sector and government agencies. Two-hundred-and-two of those reports are being investigated by the FBI or other federal partners.
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“Law enforcement has often been a target for ransomware due to the outsized impact the data can have in the wrong hands. I’m going to guess the crimes the BART police are involved in are not major nor do they have many informants or undercover officers, but it’s doubtful the attackers knew that nuance. I suspect given the details, it’s a ransomware extortion attack they are dealing with,” said John Bambenek, Netenrich cybersecurity expert.
Professor Banafa said this won’t be the last of the hacking, but the solution is not to walk away from technology. It is to increase the investment into more technology for better digital protection.