It’s been a busy week in the technological world, and in the world in general. Earlier this week, we learned that even the police get hacked!
That’s what happened in the town of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, about 25 miles north northwest of Boston. Tewksbury PD’s computer systems were stopped cold and local law enforcement officials were forced to negotiate a ransom with cyber criminals. They even had to pay that ransom before things got back to normal. The attack was subtle and gradual, beginning on a weekeknd. Before too long, the hack dominated much of the system. ?It became incredibly difficult for dispatchers, police officers, firefighters and fire stations to communicate with each other. At first, they sought help from a FBI computer specialist, but not even the specialist could even break the code. Even a police department near a major metropolitan area was forced to cave in. The ransom paid was $500 using Bitcoin. Bitcoin is popular with hackers, ID thieves and other cyber criminals because it’s nearly impossible to follow the money with Bitcoin, or follow the dirty deeds. Thankfully, no information was compromised. But the hackers who caused this haven’t been found. I doubt they ever will be.
Some are already griping that their tax dollars went to pay off cyber criminals. But let’s give credit to Tewksbury, MA Police Dept. They did everything they possibly could to avoid even paying this ransom. But in the end, the hackers’ viruses proved so strong they were left with no other choice. And they were forced to do it on the hackers’ terms, through Bitcoin. That’s the scary part. I knew cyber criminals are getting smarter, stronger, and bolder than ever before. The fact they’re using a controversial, but legit company to help cover their tracks is even scarier. If cyber criminals can bully the police force into paying a ransom, what hope is there for the rest of us?