70% of Washington DC’s CCTV Storage Devices Compromised Prior to Trump’s Inauguration

Officials from Washington’s police and city technology office have revealed that hackers had infected a majority of CCTV storage devices that record data from D.C. police surveillance cameras in the city, in the lead-up to President Trump’s inauguration.

Ransomware cybercriminals had infected 70% of storage devices recording media from D.C. police’s surveillance cameras, leaving city officials unable to record data between January 12 and January 15.

According to The Washington Post, the ransomware attack affected 123 of 187 network video recorders. The recording devices stored media recorded in a closed-circuit TV system installed in public spaces across the city, according to officials.

D.C. police first noticed four malfunctioning camera sites, promptly notifying the city’s technology office. The technology office, during a preliminary investigation, discovered two strains of ransomware infecting the four recording devices. A citywide sweep of the network followed and more infected sites were discovered. The video recorders are connected to as many as four cameras at each site.

District of Columbia CTO Archana Vemulapalli has claimed that the city paid no ransom. Instead, the devices were cleansed after taking them offline entirely, wiping all software and restarting the system individually at every location in the city.

Further, the infection was confined to police CCTV cameras that monitored public spaces alone and did not compromise any other computer networks belonging to the city, Vumulapalli added.

The safety of the public was never in question nor jeopardized, according to secret Service official Brian Ebert.

She further stated:

There was no access from these devices into our environment.

Interim Police Chief Peter NEwsham added that the technology office has worked with the police. The incident, however, was limited to a 2-day period with the official claiming that there was “no significant impact” overall.

An investigation is currently underway into the ransomware attack. City officials have also declined to reveal any suspects behind the attack.

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