Network up after hackers target police

EL DORADO -- The El Dorado Police Department's computer network is fully operational, weeks after the system was attacked by a CryptoLocker virus, department officials said.

Capt. Michael Leveritt issued assurances that no data was breached as a result of the cyberattack, which occurred in early May.

Leveritt explained that the Police Department's computer system was hit by RobinHood malware, a bug that encrypts existing files and holds them for "ransom" as hackers demand to be paid through Bitcoin in order to "release" the files.

The FBI is investigating the incident.

"No information was taken from us. It just locked them from being used on our network," Leveritt said. "No records were compromised. It basically locks the files and makes them useless until we pay to have them unlocked."

"Through our internet security protocols, we were able to get rid of those encrypted files and replace them with backup files that we keep and maintain," he continued.

Leveritt and Police Chief Kenny Hickman said no other El Dorado city departments or offices have reported such issues.

Leveritt said that when the RobinHood Ransomware infiltrated the department's computer system, local officers learned from the FBI that it was the latest variant of the years-old malware and that it had struck other large computer networks, including law enforcement agencies and other municipal government offices and private businesses, across the country.

"At the time, it was a fairly new crypto virus that came out and it was fairly new to the FBI, and all of the information that we had on it was forwarded to the FBI for their analysis," Leveritt said. "But we don't know exactly how it infiltrated our network.

"It's a huge inconvenience."

Hickman said the bug affected several individual computer work stations within the Police Department but it did not wipe out any essential data.

Leveritt said department employees first noticed a glitch in one of the department's software programs.

"When it wasn't functioning like it was designed to is when we started looking and immediately realized that it had started migrating into our network," he said. "We were able to shut it down immediately."