Orange County, Calif., District Attorney’s Office Hacked | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

(TNS) — The Orange County District Attorney’s Office information technology system was hacked over the weekend and portions of the system have been shut down while the agency investigates the damage, a spokesperson said Monday, Oct. 23.

Kimberly Edds said the office was alerted to the breach Friday by its cybersecurity program and immediately shut down the portion of the system that was hacked to prevent the damage from spreading to other areas.

She said the office is working with the FBI to investigate.

“We’re doing a full investigation and making sure we’re doing everything we can to mitigate the impact to public service,” Edds said.

She did not know the information that had been breached or whether it was a ransomware attack. No ransom demand had been made, Edds said.

In a ransomware attack, a hacker enters a system and encrypts the data, leaving the owner unable to access it. If a ransom is paid, usually in cryptocurrency, the hacker will provide a decryption key to unlock the data.

Hackers can also steal files and threaten to post them on the dark web if a ransom is not paid.

“The extent (of the breach) is still being investigated,” Edds said.

Initially, the agency’s ability to send and receive email was affected.

“To contain any effects of the cybersecurity incident, we isolated our network communications,” said a news release sent by the office. “The District Attorney’s office immediately coordinated with partner agencies, including all law enforcement entities in Orange County, including the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.”

Sheriff’s spokesperson Carrie Braun said the agency suspended its IT connection with the district attorney’s office and is conducting a forensic analysis to determine if sheriff’s computers were compromised. There did not appear to be evidence of a breach at the Sheriff’s Department.

In May, San Bernardino County acknowledged paying $1.1 million in ransom to hackers who infiltrated the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s computers. Hackers had blocked access to important data. The county paid half of the ransom and its insurance carrier paid the rest.

The Los Angeles Unified School District was hacked last year, compromising about 2,000 student assessment records as well as positive COVID test results, driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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