Two people were arrested Feb. 2 in London for hacking the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department’s closed-circuit surveillance camera system eight days before President Donald Trump’s inauguration.
About two-thirds of cameras were infected with ransomware, a type of attack that denies users’ access to computer systems unless a form of digital ransom is paid.
In total, 123 of the 187 cameras in the system were affected, including several located along the inaugural parade route.
The United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency listed the perpetrators of the crime as a 50-year-old British man and a 50-year-old Swedish woman. Both were released from jail after posting bail Feb. 2.
According to The Washington Post, MPD officials reported Jan. 12 to the District Office of the Chief Technology Officer that four cameras were not working. The District’s Chief Technology Officer Archana Vemulapalli said the office discovered the devices that had been hacked and removed all software from the system.
Though hackers demanded a ransom, Vemulapalli removed all of the cameras from the District’s interface, cleared the virus and did not pay the ransom.
The U.S. Secret Service is leading the investigation into the hacking, and indicated this week that the investigation may expand to more countries. CBS News reported the Secret Service’s Electronic Crimes Task Forces based in Rome and Paris are now participating in the investigation.
Security during President Trump’s inauguration was not compromised, according to the Secret Service.
The hacking follows the District’s efforts to reduce and monitor crime by providing cameras to property owners in exchange for their registration in the MPD’s database. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) launched the Private Security Camera System Incentive Program in February 2016 to create a network of more than 1,000 security cameras.
MPD did not respond to a request for comment on whether or not these cameras were affected.
According to Georgetown University Police Department Police Chief Jay Gruber, the university’s surveillance system is not connected to the District’s surveillance system and has not experienced a breach.
“The Georgetown University Police Department works closely with the University Information Security Office to implement security measures and monitoring to protect these systems,” Gruber wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Gruber also said GUPD has nearly completed an upgrade to the university camera and video monitoring system.
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