Drug Dealers Delightfully Roaming Streets Thanks to Ransomware Attack

Drug Dealers Delightfully Roaming Streets Thanks to Ransomware Attack


Stuart Florida Police Department 

Cristal M Clark

Ransomware is everywhere and when it hits a business, hospital or municipality crucial information is always lost. In this case which would be the 7th of its kind, crucial case files were lost in an April 2019 ransomware infection causing US prosecutors to drop 11 narcotics cases against 6 suspected drug dealers.

Those drug dealers were let go and are now delightfully roaming the streets, presumably dealing more drugs. 

The evidence in some 11 cases could not be recovered following a ransomware attack that hit the Stuart police department, some of which were photo and video evidence, they were able to recover only some of the missing data from backups, just not quite enough. 

Detective Sergeant Mike Gerwan with the Stuart Police Department said that the dropped cases included charges for possession of meth, possession of cocaine, selling narcotics, manufacturing narcotics, and delivering narcotics, among other charges. 

Which is a huge loss for US prosecutors but it’s not the only one in recent history. 

Starting in 2017, an infection from the Osiris ransomware caused the Cockrell Hill, Texas police department lost 8 years worth of evidence, yes 8 years. Then in May of 2018 the Riverside, Ohio police lost 10 months worth of cases after a ransomware infection. Who can forget Atlanta, the entire city was hit with a ransomware infection back in March of 2018 causing the city’s police department to lose just about 2 years of police car dash-cam video evidence. 

Aside from the Stuart police department in 2019, 3 police departments reported losing crucial information due to ransomware attacks. The Georgia State Patrol, Georgia Capitol Police, and the Georgia Motor Carrier Compliance Division were hit with a ransomware attack which brought down the dash cams in July of 2019. Police car laptops and dash-cams remained down for more than a month following the attack. 

Then again in July of the same year, the Police in Lawrenceville, Georgia were hit and lost case-related files and bodycam footage, no one knows just how much intel they lost because of so many conflicting reports which range from just a tiny bit of to months and years worth of intel. 

Then in December 2019 – The St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office in Florida lost a week’s worth of emails and evidence following a ransomware infection.

The ability to hit a police department in a ransomware attack is huge, it is an effective way to guarantee a payment with the promise to restore the files, but the reality is that most files are never restored. 

These types of ransomware attacks will continue simply because we have to date no real protection from them because by the time they hit it’s too late. 

Cristal M Clark

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