Data Stolen From the City of Oakland Leaked by Ransomware Group
The recent cyberattack on the City of Oakland, California has resulted in the Play ransomware gang leaking stolen data.
The declaration of a state of emergency by the City of Oakland, California, following a ransomware attack underscores the tangible impact cyberattacks can have, as services were disrupted due to leaking a multi-part RAR archive of 10GB, claimed to contain confidential documents, employee information, passports, and IDs.
The cyber-gang responsible for the attack uses a combination of encryption algorithms to secure the files, rendering them inaccessible without the decryption key. According to their claims, the hackers behind the Play Ransomware possess a “master key” that can decrypt all files affected by their malware. They also allege that they exfiltrate data from their victims before encrypting it and threaten to publish it online if the ransom is not paid within a specified time frame. The ongoing data leak involving the City of Oakland is a demonstration of this tactic.
Play Ransomware, which is also referred to as PlayCrypt, is a recently established ransomware operation that commenced its activities in June 2022. The ransomware adds the extension .play to the encrypted files and includes a note containing the term PLAY, as well as an email address for contacting the attackers, as stated by the cybersecurity company Avertium.
Following the ransomware attack on February 8th, the City’s IT systems were shut down until the network could be secured. Although emergency services and 911 were unaffected by the attack, numerous other systems were taken offline, including phone service, payment collection, report processing, and permit and license issuance.
The City of Oakland is collaborating with third-party specialists and law enforcement to address the situation and is closely monitoring the unauthorized third party’s assertions to assess their accuracy. In the event that the personal information of any individuals is discovered to be involved, they will be informed as per the applicable laws.
Although the perpetrator of the attack was initially unknown, it has been revealed, or at least claimed, that the Play Ransomware gang is responsible. Cybersecurity analyst and researcher, Dominic Alvieri, confirmed this on Twitter.