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Video: Tennessee Sheriff's Office Pays Ransom for Case Files

November 13, 2014  | 

VIDEO: Tennessee Sheriff's Office Pays Ransom for Case Files

Officials with the Dickson (Tenn.) County Sheriff's Office said they had to pay a ransom after malware locked them out of thousands of their case files, reports WTVF.

"Every sort of document that you could develop in an investigation was in that folder. There was a total of 72,000 files," said Detective Jeff McCliss, the agency's IT director.

McCliss said in late October, a member of the Sheriff's Office was streaming local radio station WDKN when they mistakenly clicked on a rotating ad that secretly installed vicious malware called "Cryptowall," which locked the agency out of their files unless they paid a ransom of bitcoins worth $500.

McCliss said after consulting with the TBI, FBI and even the military they realized the only way to get back their precious case files was to pay.

"It's a bad feeling. It's a very bad feeling to be the victim instead of the investigator," he said.

Comments (9)

Displaying 1 - 9 of 9

tedb @ 11/13/2014 3:03 PM

Can you imagine the prosecution nightmare that is about to happen in that county? "So, Officer, isn't it possible that, while that e-file was out of the possession of your department, someone unknown to you may have altered it?" "ERRRRR...uh...I guess so!" "Your honor, defense moves for exoneration and dismissal!"

Ron Martinelli @ 11/13/2014 3:27 PM

And THAT's why you always want to have a closed system with your own servers to hold data. Hackers can "fly" up into the "cloud" and snag anything they want if you provide them with the opportunity.

viperphi @ 11/13/2014 4:35 PM

The files were never out of their possession. Crypto-Locker malware encrypts the data on the local hard drive making it impossible to access without the key. They hold the key ransom and demand payment within a set amount of time or the key will be destroyed the data permanently inaccessible. The data most likely was on their own system... They just weren't up to date on protections and updates.

LT @ 11/13/2014 4:52 PM

Can you say "Back Up Files"?

LT @ 11/13/2014 4:53 PM

Can you say "Back Up Files"?

Nightstlker @ 11/13/2014 7:58 PM

To bad this stuff is going on, Stay safe all out there as this world we live in is going down and its a dam shame.

Ima Leprechaun @ 11/14/2014 4:14 AM

A good criminal justice record system is not connected to the internet and is an in-house stand alone system. Because of this kind of concern N.C.I.C. is not connected to the internet and does not allow any outside system to join with N.C.I.C. Police Records are best kept in an intranet system to avoid just this kind of system problem. A good IT director would already know this.

Cleatus @ 11/14/2014 6:35 AM

Get a good anti-malware /anti exploit like Malwarebytes. Ourentire county is covered by this--Our malware/crap on computers went WAY down after this- almost non existent. That and keeping people off of stupid sites and from clicking on anything that pops up....

Jordan Nash @ 11/15/2014 11:19 AM

I think he can start referring to himself as "former IT director" after displaying that level of incompetence.

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