Mass. police forced to pay ransom for encrypted data

The department received a message demanding $500 in exchange for their data


By PoliceOne Staff

TEWKSBURY, Mass. — Tewksbury police handed over a $500 ransom to unknown hackers in order to have the department’s encrypted data returned to them.

In December, the police chief called in a technician after having difficulty opening arrest and incident records, according to WHDH.

“My initial thoughts were we were infected by some sort of a virus,” Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan told the Boston Globe. “Then we determined it was a little bit bigger than that. It was more like cyberterrorism.” 

Sheehan received a message stating, “IF you really value your data, then we suggest you do not waste valuable time searching for other solution because they do not exist.”

Tewksbury police is one of many departments targeted by ransomware, a type of program that is typically accessed via a hyperlink sent through email that infects the recipient’s computer when clicked.

After several attempts by specialists to unscramble the corrupted files, the department was forced to pay the $500 ransom via bitcoin. 

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