Police attack

Police association says that databases and servers hit “malware attack that encrypted data.”

The England and Wales Police Federation (PFEW) has suffered an apparent ransomware attack which has an impact on what is described as its databases and servers.

The Surrey office of the police staff association, which accounts for more than 119,000 police officers, was the victim of a cyberattack on March 9th. The PFEW’s statement says “immediate steps” have been taken to isolate the event, with a number of systems taken offline to minimize the propagation of “malware attacks that encrypted data.”

The ransomware attack encrypted several databases and servers and prevented access to data and email services. The national PFEW member database, the case management system and the conference and hotel reservation system were affected. The attack also removed backup information.

“Many of our systems have been affected and we are working closely with cyber experts to restore systems and to determine how much of the data has not been available,” the Federation of Police stated.

The database in question contains information about the PFEW members, and although at present there is no evidence that the data have also been stolen during the attack, the federation says it “could not be discounted” and that people who could be affected will be contacted.

“Our priority was to mitigate the damage from the attack and protect our members’ and others ‘ personal data whose information we hold,” he added. The PFEW brought forensic experts from BAE Systems to support the attack.

The incident was reported to the National Cyber Security Centre, the Commissioner of Information and the National Crime Agency, and an investigation is under way.

“The National Crime Agency conducts an investigation and a wider law enforcement action into the cyber incident affecting the English and Wales Police Federations,” said the NCA. “NCA National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU) specialists manage on-going investigations. They are working with the PFEW and the National Cyber Security Center (NCSC) to better understand the incident.

“We know about cyber incidents affecting the English and the Wales Police Federation and work with the NCSC organization.”

Those affected are recommended to be vigilant about suspicious e-mails, texts and telephone calls,” they said. The Police Federation has established a website and a helpline for all members concerned.

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