U.S. Marshals Hit with Massive Cybersecurity Attack Exposing Sensitive Data

U.S. Marshals provide extra security outside the E. Barrett Prettyman United States Courthouse in Washington D.C. on Saturday, June 28, 2014. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a Libyan thought to be responsible for the 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi is being held in federal law enforcement custody. (Photo by Greg Kahn/Getty Images)
Greg Kahn/Getty Images

The U.S. Marshals Service fell victim to a security breach recently, compromising sensitive information. Although private data on topics like investigations was part of the breach, officials claim no data for the witness protection program was leaked.

NBC News reports that there was a significant security breach at the United States Marshals Service (USMS) on February 17. The attack compromised sensitive data, including legal process returns, administrative data, and personally identifiable information. The breach affected a standalone USMS system and involved ransomware and data theft. The Justice Department is currently carrying out a forensic investigation into the incident.

According to a statement by USMS spokesperson Drew Wade, the compromised system contained information sensitive to law enforcement regarding the subjects of USMS investigations, outside parties, and specific USMS employees. Wade stated: “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 a senior law enforcement official, the incident had nothing to do with the database for the Witness Security Program, also known as the witness protection program. They affirmed that the breach did not endanger anyone involved in the program.

Despite this, the breach is important because of the type of information that was compromised. The USMS is in charge of a variety of law enforcement tasks, such as locating wanted individuals, moving detainees, securing federal courts, and managing the witness protection program. If the sensitive information exposed in this breach ends up in the wrong hands, it could have serious repercussions.

The USMS breach brings to light the ongoing difficulty of protecting government networks from complex cyberattacks. The incident also raises questions about how vulnerable current government data systems are.

Read more at NBC News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.