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Greater Manchester Police and Staff Lose Personal Info in a Ransomware Attack

Personal details of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) officers have been hacked after the force was targeted in a similar cyberattack that affected the Metropolitan Police.

In a massive ransomware attack, hackers managed to steal the personal information of thousands of British police officers and staff. The breach targeted one of the largest law enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom, causing significant concern and highlighting the growing threat of cybercrime.

Greater Manchester Police Reveal Possible Point of Entry

Greater Manchester Police, on Thursday, reported a cyberattack targeting a third-party supplier, which also serves GMP, responsible for patrolling a vast area with 2.8 million residents. Colin McFarlane, GMP’s assistant chief constable, stated that they believe financial data remains secure, but they’re treating the situation seriously.

A message to staff, as reported by the Manchester Evening News, revealed that hackers possibly accessed badges with names, ranks, photos, and serial numbers, some of which included geolocation data. The incident has been reported to the U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office.

The National Cyber Security Center is collaborating with other law enforcement agencies to assess the impact of this cyber incident. This breach is part of a series affecting British law enforcement. London’s Metropolitan Police faced a similar breach in August, strengthening their security measures afterward.

In mid-August, Norfolk and Suffolk constabularies inadvertently exposed information for 1,230 individuals. Prior to that, the Police Service of Northern Ireland disclosed details of 10,000 officers and staff. Security experts have warned of potential risks for police officers and employees due to these data breaches.

Elizabeth Baxter, head of cyber investigations, at the Information Commissioner’s Office, affirms the police’s rightful expectation of data security. They’ve reported the incident, initiating an inquiry.

“We received the report and we’re actively investigating the incident and advocating for those affected. Organizations must prioritize employee data security, especially in high-risk sectors. The ICO strives to assist organizations in achieving this, fostering confidence in data protection.”

Security experts should be aware of the escalating threat of cybercrime targeting law enforcement agencies in the UK. The recent ransomware attack on a major police force highlights the need for robust security measures and constant vigilance.

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