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Some Data Lost in East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Cyber Attack

The East Baton Rouge Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana thwarted an intrusion into its network on Friday, but hackers did obtain a small quantity of data. The bad actors are not believed to have gained access to the agency’s network.

(TNS) — The East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office is restructuring network security protections following an attempted cyber attack in which hackers were able to obtain a small amount of data, the Sheriff's Office said Tuesday evening.

The Sheriff's Office detected an attempted intrusion into the agency network on Friday, EBRSO spokesperson Casey Rayborn Hicks said in an email.

"Cyber investigators have told EBRSO they believe the software was able to quickly stop the intrusion before the bad actor (aka hacker) was able to advance far into the network," Hicks said.

Investigators currently believe the hacker was able to obtain a limited amount of data that included screenshots of file folders and images of video files.

Investigators do not believe the hacker currently has access to the agency network as of Tuesday evening. As a precaution, the Sheriff's Office has shut down network access for computers that may have been compromised, the email said.

In a text message Tuesday evening, Hicks said the hacker seemed to be "trying to garner media attention by pushing out false info."

All public services remain fully operational, and EBRSO's IT department is working to upgrade the network to increase security protection, which Hicks said may result in temporary interruptions to phone and Internet services.

"The EBRSO is working closely with its state and federal partners to investigate the bad actor and ensure the security of all confidential information," Hicks said.

Tammy Anthony Baker, executive vice president of New Orleans and South East Information Technology Group, posted to social media earlier Tuesday about the alleged breach. Baker, who monitors "dark web leak sites" for clients, said she discovered sensitive information made available by the Medusa ransomware group.

The group released documents to show "proof of compromise," including alleged employee payroll records, prisoner information, staging plans for police operations and a screenshot of CCTV footage from what appears to be a dorm inside the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, Baker said.

According to Baker, Medusa demanded the Sheriff's Office pay a $300,000 ransom in less than nine days or the group will leak the rest of the stolen data.

Most of the East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office website seemed to be working Tuesday afternoon, but the parish prison inmate roster did not appear to be functioning.

Louisiana agencies and universities have experienced similar cyber attacks in recent years. In July 2023, a massive cybersecurity breach within the Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles exposed personal information from every Louisianan with a state-issued driver's license, ID or vehicle registration.

Earlier that year, in February 2023, Southeastern Louisiana University took its systems offline in response to a cybersecurity attack. Baker said in April 2023 that she discovered 150 gigabytes of "accounting, education, financial, marketing and business" data from the university on the "dark web" made available by a ransomware group called "BianLian."

No personal identifiable information or educational records were stolen in the incident, the school said in August.

©2024 The Advocate, Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.