Cyber attack on forensics firm caused backlog of 20,000 samples

Cyber attack on forensics firm caused backlog of 20,000 samples

Cyber attack on forensics firm caused backlog of 20,000 samples and will delay investigations and court cases, police warn

  • Eurofins Scientific (EFS) was attacked by cyber criminals at the start of June
  • Police forces across the UK use EFS to carry out forensic work in criminal cases
  • Police chiefs warned the attack could delay ongoing criminal investigations 
  • In July, it was reported the company had paid the ransomware criminals  

A cyber-attack on one of the main scientific firms used by police to carry out forensic work led to a backlog of about 20,000 samples.

The backlog is being worked through by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), which has warned of delays to investigations and court cases.

The NPCC said it had resumed working with Eurofins Scientific (EFS) three weeks ago after suspending services following the ransomware attack at the start of June.

A cyber-attack on Eurofins Scientific has led to delays in criminal investigations across Britain

The company was attacked by cyber criminals in early June who demanded a ransom before releasing their computers

It resumed working with the company after a ‘sustained effort’ involving the council, the Home Office, the National Crime Agency (NCA) and the National Cyber Security Centre.

Assistant Chief Constable Paul Gibson praised the ‘extremely positive step forward’.

He said: ‘The security and integrity of the criminal justice system is of the highest possible priority, which meant we had to take stringent steps to ensure that police data had, firstly, not been manipulated or changed and, secondly, was suitably protected for the future.

‘There is still significant work to do, but we have approved Eurofins’ return to the marketplace and have removed the restrictions placed on forces over the last few weeks.’

In the last three weeks the NPCC said the backlog has been reduced to 15,000.

Mr Gibson said the number of cases would continue to be reduced in coming weeks.

He added: ‘This will regrettably mean some delays to both investigations and court cases, but I want to assure the public we will continue to work diligently to mitigate the impact upon the criminal justice system and try to ensure that samples can be processed as quickly as the system allows.’

The NCA is leading a criminal probe into the attack.

During the suspension of services, police continued fingerprint analysis and crime scene investigation as normal.

In early July it was reported the company had paid a ransom after the attack.

The BBC said it is not known how much the payment from EFS was for or when it was made.

A spokesman for the company did not deny the report, saying: ‘With regards to any ransom payment we can’t comment at the moment.’

 

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