Hackers who claim to have infiltrated the D.C. police department’s computer network are threatening to publicize confidential files that could reveal names of suspected gang members and intelligence from crime briefings, according to online posts reviewed by cybersecurity experts.
A ransomware entity called Babuk posted its warning on the dark Web, purporting to have downloaded a vast array of information, and warned police to “get in touch as soon as possible and pay us, otherwise we will publish the data.”
The group posted several pictures of suspected gang members and maps drawn by police of territories claimed by street crews, a sample of information experts say is meant to prove their threats are real. Babuk said it downloaded 250 gigabytes of data, which could be large enough to store up to 70,000 photos or tens of thousands of documents, according to computer security experts.
Babuk displayed screenshots of dozens of file folders, including ones dealing with discipline and listed by officer names, and others titled “known shooters,” “most violent person,” “RAP feuds,” “gang conflict report” and “strategic crime briefings.”
Authorities including the FBI are trying to determine whether Babuk actually has gained access to those files.
One security expert provided screenshots of the group’s online comments to The Washington Post. A D.C. official familiar with the investigation, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because a probe is underway, confirmed the city is looking into the claims believed to be made by Babuk.
“It’s fair to say it’s very serious,” said D.C. Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), who chairs the public safety committee. “It’s open to assessment as to how serious.”
Allen said authorities “are trying to assess and understand what happened,” and what type of information may have been stolen. He said he learned the hackers probably did not get access to files shared by the District and federal law enforcement authorities.
But still, if the group has the documents it claims, revealing them could affect ongoing criminal investigations, publicize personal information about…