Hack of police computer system costs department $5K

Dighton’s police chief and Board of Selectmen defended their response to a hack of the police department’s computer system and the ransom the town paid to the hackers.
“The system was completely locked,” Chief Robert MacDonald told the board Wednesday night.
MacDonald detailed the hack of his department’s computer system in October that had the town pay a ransom of more than $4,600 to unlock the system
Word of the hack and ransom just leaked out publicly last week and has led to questions over how it was handled.
“Nothing was done wrong here,” MacDonald told NBC 10 News.
The chief said the hackers, apparently from Russia, demanded money or they would wipe out the department’s computer system.
“We had to pay it, yes. We would have lost our whole system,” MacDonald told NBC10.
The chief said Sgt. Shawn Cronin and the department’s computer vendor worked on the problem for days, called the FBI, and talked to other area police departments that had been hacked in recent years and also paid ransoms, though they paid less.
In this case, Cronin used his own money to first front the ransom.
“It was just that we had to move fast with it,” MacDonald said.
Cronin was then reimbursed by the town after the Board of Selectman, of which his father is the chairman, privately approved the move.
Word of all this recently leaked out in a less than flattering light.
“It was mean-spirited. It was not true,” board member Nancy Goulart claimed.
Goulart defended the board against inferences that there was something shady about the transaction, and says the payment was approved by other town officials, too.
“We didn’t make it public because, let’s face it folks, we didn’t want to invite more trouble,” she said.


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