Hacker demands $10M ransom for data

A hacker who claims to have stolen 8 million records from a database that tracks prescription drug abuse in Virginia is demanding a $10 million ransom for the information's return, according to media reports.

In a Roanoke Times article, Gov. Tim Kaine calls the incident "an intentional criminal act against the commonwealth by somebody who was trying to harm others." The FBI and Virginia State Police are investigating, the newspaper reported.

The breach involves the Virginia Department of Health Professions' (DHP) prescription drug-monitoring database. The department licenses health care providers in the state and tracks the sales of controlled substances.

The breach apparently happened April 30. According to Digital Journal, the hacker posted a note on WikiLeaks.org — a Web site devoted to leaking documents — demanding the ransom and threatening to sell the data on the open market if the state did not pay. Today was the deadline.

"I have your s@*t! In *my* possession, right now, are 8,257,378 patient records and a total of 35,548,087 prescriptions," the WikiLeaks note reads. "Also, I made an encrypted backup and deleted the original. Unfortunately for Virginia, their backups seem to have gone missing, too. Uhoh :("

However, DHP Director Sandra Whitley Ryals said the database has been properly backed up, Digital Journal reported.

Featured

  • Cybersecurity

    DHS floats 'collective defense' model for cybersecurity

    Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen wants her department to have a more direct role in defending the private sector and critical infrastructure entities from cyberthreats.

  • Defense
    Defense Secretary James Mattis testifies at an April 12 hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

    Mattis: Cloud deal not tailored for Amazon

    On Capitol Hill, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis sought to quell "rumors" that the Pentagon's planned single-award cloud acquisition was designed with Amazon Web Services in mind.

  • Census
    shutterstock image

    2020 Census to include citizenship question

    The Department of Commerce is breaking with recent practice and restoring a question about respondent citizenship last used in 1950, despite being urged not to by former Census directors and outside experts.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.