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The US Marshals Service suffered a data breach and ransomware attack

The US Marshals Service suffered a data breach and ransomware attack


Hackers obtained information related to the agency’s employees and its investigative targets.

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A matrix of green binary code flows down in the background of a laptop computer with a green-hued image of the US Capitol building
Image: Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The US Marshals Service has fallen victim to a ransomware attack, according to reports from NBC News, The New York Times, and Reuters. On February 17th, hackers gained access to and stole sensitive information related to the agency’s employees and the subjects that it’s investigating.

In a statement to NBC News, Drew Wade, the Marshals Service public affairs chief, called the ransomware attack a “major incident,” while adding that the affected system “contains law enforcement sensitive information, including returns from legal process, administrative information, and personally identifiable information pertaining to subjects of USMS investigations, third parties, and certain USMS employees.”

According to NBC News, the attack didn’t impact the agency’s Witness Security Program, meaning no individuals in the program should be in danger. The Marshals Service disconnected the affected system from its network and alerted the US Department of Justice of the attack, which has already started a forensic investigation.

Unfortunately, we still don’t know too many details about who carried out the attacks or how much information the hackers stole. This incident follows a string of cyberattacks waged against the US government over the past couple of years.

Last March, Chinese hackers breached several state government networks, while news of an attack targeting federal courts surfaced last July. After SolarWinds hackers breached dozens of federal agencies in 2021, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to amp up cybersecurity measures in the US, while Google and Microsoft pledged billions to help bolster the country’s defenses.