Hackers attack Los Angeles Police Department; thousands of officers are blackmailed using their personal data

Cybersecurity incidents keep happening in various public departments in multiple areas of the United States. This time, vulnerability analysis specialists report a data breach in Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) systems. The incident would have compromised some personal details, such as full names, phones, email addresses, and passwords stored by the agency.

According to reports, the personal information of about 2,500 active officers and about 17,500 applicants to join the corporation were exposed during the incident, detected just a few days ago. Hackers even accessed the records of the LAPD applications status.

Through a statement, the department confirmed the data breach and stated that it has already begun work on containment and recovery of the incident. “We have notified directly to all potentially affected officers and applicants; we will continue to provide updates to the incident as they become available.”

“Everyone at LAPD is constantly working to understand everything related to this incident. We will also be implementing the relevant measures to ensure the security of all information held by the corporation. At LAPD we are fully committed to protecting the privacy of anyone associated with this agency,” the LAPD statement adds.

On the other hand, Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office confirmed that “the incident occurred in a database that was no longer used by LAPD since long time ago, so the compromised information is outdated and limited.”

According to vulnerability analysis specialists, how the data breach was conducted has not yet been determined; similarly, the appearance of compromised records in dark web forums or the like has not been reported. The exact time the information remained exposed online is also unknown.

The Los Angeles police union trade stated that those affected should be protected against any variables of identity fraud, and the city’s vulnerability analysis experts will have to implement the necessary measures to prevent a similar incident occur again.

Experts in vulnerability analysis from the International Institute of Cyber Security (IICS) mention that data breaches that compromise information from members of law enforcement agencies are particularly concerning cases, as affected are exposed to highly targeted phishing attacks that could help hackers to further access LAPD sensitive information.

The frequency with which cyberattacks occur in public institutions in the U.S. has concerned authorities and members of the cybersecurity community. A couple of months ago a ransomware outbreak began affecting operations and services in local governments in some cities in Florida, New York, among other states. In addition, the Louisiana government recently issued a state level cybersecurity alert regarding a malware infection in the systems of dozens of schools. A verifiable link has not yet been found between all these incidents, however, the U.S. authorities aren’t ruling out any possibility.  

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