A major security breach that happened over a week ago compromised the United States Marshals Service’s systems that contained sensitive information, multiple senior US law enforcement officials confirmed Monday.
In addition to the hackers’ attacks on corporations and individuals, data hacks in recent years have increasingly plagued federal and state governments.
Underscoring that the hacker attack affected a “stand-alone” system, US Marshals Service spokesperson Drew Wade said that after discovering the ransomware and data exfiltration event on Feb. 17, the agency disconnected the system.
In the meantime, the agency – which handles federal prisoners across the US and pursues fugitives – has developed a workaround so its officials are able to continue operations and efforts to track down fugitives.
After the Marshals Service briefed on Feb. 22 senior Justice Department officials, who determined that the breach was a major incident, the DOJ initiated a forensic investigation in relation to the incident, Wade said.
He added that DOJ’s remediation efforts and criminal and forensic investigations are ongoing and that the Marshals Service is working swiftly and effectively to mitigate any potential risks as a result of the incident.
Wade explained that the affected system contained law enforcement sensitive information, including information about the subjects of the agency’s investigations administrative information, returns from legal processes, as well as personally identifiable information pertaining to subjects of USMS investigations, third parties, and some USMS employees.
The breach, which is the second significant malicious cyber incident to affect US federal law enforcement agencies this month, did not affect the Witness Security Program and no one in the program is at risk due to it, as a senior law enforcement official stressed.
Earlier in February, the FBI had to move to contain malicious activity on part of its computer network in an incident FBI officials believe involved an FBI computer system used in investigations of images of child sexual exploitation.