Azusa’s police department has revealed that it had been targed by cybercriminals in an earlier cyber attack in 2018. 

Following the revelation that sensitive Azusa Police Department records had been compromised by criminals, California city officials now acknowledge they experienced another costly ransomware attack that they kept hidden for over two years. 

In 2018, the city had paid $65,000 ransom, through its cybersecurity insurance cover, to an unknown hacker organisation to regain control of its 10 data servers at the Police Department.

“We were able to unlock one server after the ransom was paid but immediately after found a free key to unlock all other locked servers,” said Azusa City Manager Sergio Gonzales in an email. “No information was compromised. Our servers were just locked. We verified with forensic experts that no data was compromised. That’s essentially why we did not and were not required to report it (publicly).”

The 2018 breach is said to have occured after a city employee opened an email or link containing a virus. 

Gonzales explained that the 2018 attack had not been reported as an investigatin determined that no data had been exposed.

Earlier this year, the department’s documents was leaked online after the city chose not to pay a ransom demanded by the DoppelPaymer ransomware gang. 

Information leaked included criminal case files and payroll data containing Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, medical information, and financial account information.


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