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Sheriff’s Office Forced to Pay Ransom to Online Extortionists

A PC at the Dickson County (Tennessee, USA) Sheriff's Office was recently attacked with the CryptoWall ransomware, leading to numerous files becoming inaccessible, published softpedia.com dated November 14, 2014.

Reportedly, it was October-late 2014 when the incident happened as somebody in the office opened one malevolent ad posted on the local radio broadcast WDKN's website, starting off one drive-by download assault that served the crypto-malware.

Immediately when the malicious program infected the PC, files began getting encrypted as also labeled with various extensions while there was demand for a ransom in exchange for restoration of the data.

Unfortunately, the PC's data didn't have backup so Detective Jeff McCliss the Office's IT Director had to decide whether to pay the ransom alternatively let the files stay inaccessible.

Meanwhile, the Office of Dickson County Sheriff informed both Federal Bureau of Investigation and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. The agencies told how with CryptoWall, the extortionists commonly unlocked the files on payment of the ransom.

Consequently, a huge $500 (EUR400) was given up as ransom fee.

Initially, Jeff Bledsoe, Dickson County Sheriff thought they wouldn't get blackmailed, that they wouldn't pay the money for the data's retrieval. Tennessean.com published this, November 11, 2014.

However, according to Bledsoe, when his office determined which files had been locked as well as that their misuse could significantly affect the county's residents along with the activities of the sheriff's place-of-work, he had no alternative except for allowing the fee's payment.

He elaborated that the files involved were sensitive since they were records important for the office's ongoing investigations, files associated with ongoing/earlier prosecutions, data about issued equipments, booking documents, and documents of non-replaceable type.

Kenneth Forte, General Manager of WDKN stated that the host of the radio broadcast's Internet stream was an intermediate firm Securenet Systems that was definite the problem had gotten resolved. Jrn.com published this, November 12, 2014.

According to Forte, the kind of online-crimes could be enormously difficult for investigating as the perpetrators hid their identity; while could generally operate from overseas. The bottom-line: either one got his PC-data wiped clean or acquiesced with making payment for retrieving those files.

» SPAMfighter News - 11/24/2014

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