New Jersey county police department confirms ransomware attack
The police department in Camden County, New Jersey confirmed that it was hit with a ransomware attack last month and is still investigating the incident.
A spokesperson for the department — which serves the county’s 523,000 residents — told Recorded Future News that the ransomware attack took place on March 13. Camden County borders Philadelphia to its northwest.
“The agency is operational and did not experience any disruption or outages in its public safety response services to the Camden City community,” said spokesperson Dan Keashen. “At this time, the department is working with information technology and law enforcement professionals to ensure that there is no remaining threat in our network.”
Keashen added that he could not provide more information on the topic because internal and outside counsels are limiting what he can say. But he confirmed that a recent report on the incident by NBC News was “accurate.”
NBC News reported on Thursday that several law enforcement sources told them that the attack “has been locking many criminal investigative files and day-to-day internal administration abilities.”
The news outlet said “about 80-85 percent of the files have now been reopened” and that the FBI, NJ State Homeland Security's office and the New Jersey attorney general’s office were all involved in the investigation.
In addition to the ransomware incident involving the Camden County Police Department, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office told The Record that it also was dealing with its own cyberattack. A spokesperson said the cyberattack occurred about one week ago.
“The Office is operational and did not experience any disruption or outages in its public safety response services to the Camden County community,” the spokesperson said. “At this time, the Office is working with information technology and law enforcement professionals to ensure that there is no remaining threat in our network.”
No ransomware groups have claimed either attack.
The attack on Camden County’s police department is the latest in a series of ransomware incidents involving police forces.
The Washington D.C. Metro Police was attacked in 2021 while the Atlanta Police Department was also hit in 2018. More recently, the police departments of San Francisco’s transportation system, the city of Oakland and the city of Modesto were attacked by ransomware groups.
In February, the U.S. Marshals Service said it was struck by ransomware, affecting systems holding sensitive law enforcement data and personally identifiable information related to several suspects.
Emsisoft threat analyst Brett Callow said attacks on police departments are always concerning, as they can result in sensitive information leaking and potentially put lives at risk.
Callow said there have been several incidents where troves of sensitive information have been leaked after ransomware attacks on police departments.
“In past cases, prosecutions have had to be dropped due to lost or compromised evidence,” Callow said.
“Officers have been unable to do license checks before making traffic stops, crime scene photos of deceased people have been posted online and a gang even threatened to release information about informants to the criminal organizations on which they were informing.”
Jonathan Greig is a Breaking News Reporter at Recorded Future News. Jonathan has worked across the globe as a journalist since 2014. Before moving back to New York City, he worked for news outlets in South Africa, Jordan and Cambodia. He previously covered cybersecurity at ZDNet and TechRepublic.