The city of Frederick was notified Thursday that its computer network may have been hacked by a group known to carry out ransomware attacks. However, nearly a week later, the city’s system showed no signs of ransomware infiltration.
“The City of Frederick recently became aware of an incident involving unauthorized activity within the city’s computer network,” said a press release issued by the city on Tuesday. “Specifically, a group associated with ransomware attacks alleged that they gained access to the city’s network.”
A type of malware, ransomware often blocks users from accessing their work or personal computer system until they agree to pay a ransom.
“Upon receiving these allegations, (the City of Frederick) took immediate action to secure its network from any potential intrusions,” the press release read. “(The City of Frederick) has notified law enforcement, including the FBI.”
Vikki Migoya, public affairs officer for the FBI’s field office in Denver, confirmed that the office is aware of the situation and in communication with the city of Frederick. Migoya said the FBI “regularly advises public and private sector partners regarding cyber threats.”
The City of Frederick has retained the services of an outside digital forensics and incident response firm to help investigate the incident. Investigators will attempt to determine whether unauthorized individuals accessed the city’s computer network and what personal data, if any, may have been affected.
“The City of Frederick takes the security of the data it receives and maintains very seriously,” the press release said. “Should we become aware of any personal information affected by the incident, the City of Frederick will promptly notify those affected and provide them with specific steps to take to protect their personal data.”
It is unclear which group claimed to have accessed the city’s network and whether they demanded financial payment.
Angela Wilson, communications and engagement manager for the City of Frederick, said in an email Wednesday that the city is still investigating the incident but would not comment further.
“At this time, we have no additional information to release,” Wilson said.
The city maintained that the incident had no impact on its services or operations.