PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An unidentified cybergang associated with Avaddon Ransomware allegedly threatened to begin dumping the Presque Isle Police Department files on the dark web after accessing them if police did not comply with a ransom request.
“The incident was reported to the FBI,” City Manager Martin Puckett said on Tuesday after confirming there was unauthorized access into the police department’s server. “We were able to restore from a daily backup.”
In what cyber experts are calling double extortion schemes, such ransomware attacks not only encrypt and hold a company’s data hostage if the ransom demand is not met by a specified time, the gangs also threaten to dump the stolen data on a dedicated dark web site for all to see or they offer the data up for sale or auction.
In a notice posted on the dark web, the Avaddon-related gang claims it has the Presque Isle Police Department files including victim statements, personal data of employees, reports of criminal cases, data from officers’ computers, confidential data, records and certificates.
Puckett did not say if the information about what files the gang obtained is accurate.
The police department was hacked on April 18, according to a hacker report, and the ransomware gang gave city officials 240 hours to cooperate before it would begin leaking the documents on Wednesday.
“The company does not want to cooperate with us so we gave them 240 hours to communicate and cooperate with us,” the notice to the Presque Isle Police Department reads. “If this does not happen before the time counter expires, we will leak valuable company documents.”
Perhaps as a warning, the unidentified group has already posted a Presque Isle Police Department 2019 domestic violence incident report that includes the victim’s personal information as well as the suspect and police notes about what happened.
Presque Isle is one of only a handful of police departments around the country recently held hostage by ransomware extortionists, including the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department. Cybercriminal group Babuc claims responsibility for the Washington, D.C., attack.
Correction: An earlier version of this report misstated the deadline to pay the ransom.