The Palo Alto County Sheriff Office seems to have become the latest victim of a ransomware attack after hacker collective Play ransomware added it to its list.
A deadline of 12 days to pay a ransom has been set by the ransomware group, following which they have threatened to publish the stolen data. The amount of ransom demanded has not been disclosed.
Palo Alto County Sheriff Office Ransomware Attack
On April 9, the Play ransomware group published a post sharing details of the alleged Palo Alto County Sheriff Office ransomware attack.
The post, which had received over 212 views at the time of writing, also displayed April 21 as the date when the stolen data would be published.
Despite the hacker collective taking responsibility for the alleged Palo Alto County Sheriff Office ransomware attack, the official website seems to be functioning fine and was accessible at the time of writing.
Former Chief Deputy John King was sworn in as the Sheriff of Palo Alto County on September 1, 2022. King served Emmetsburg and Palo Alto for over two decades before taking charge as the Sheriff.
Ransomware groups target Sheriff’s Office
Earlier, the Sheriff’s Office of Washington County in northern Florida was targeted by the LockBit ransomware group in February 2023.
Details of over 500 Washington County Sheriff’s Office present and past employees were threatened to be leaked. The data of the employees included residential addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers.
The deadline for paying the ransom was March 30.
Reacting to the devious act, the then Sheriff Kevin Crew said at a Washington County Commission meeting, “There is no perfect system. There is no 100% safe this will never happen to you, but there are things you can do that make it a whole lot harder.”
Crew further said, “Now I’ve got that word along with and not just the people that work there we’re up to about 500 people that work there as far back as probably 1970s, 1980s.”
We’re up to 500 people so trying to figure out how to get a hold of all these people because their personal data has now been compromised.
The authorities declined the ransom demands following which stolen employee data was allegedly leaked online. They instead invested the money in tech services to bring back the systems to their complete functionality.
Despite disrupting the entire system of the Sheriff’s Office for over two weeks, as discovered by authorities on February 21, calls for service remained accessible to people and staff.
The ransomware attack on the Washington County Sheriff’s Office was suspected of having originated in Russia by the officials.