LockBit Ransomware Group Claims California Department of Finance Breach As Its Own

  • By Steven
  • Jan 10, 2023

California finance department breach

LockBit ransomware gang was, as of September 2022, the most prolific ransomware group in the world. It has hundreds of confirmed attacks around the globe, and if they truthfully claimed this attack, it can only spell trouble for the California government and residents. 

How Did the Attack Occur?

The attack occurred when the attackers, allegedly LockBit, wormed into the department’s system, presumably locking certain systems. “Upon identification of this threat, digital security and online threat-hunting experts were rapidly deployed to assess the extent of the intrusion and to evaluate, contain and mitigate future vulnerabilities,” read the notice on the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services website.

What Information Was Viewed or Stolen?

The group has claimed over 75 gigabytes of data were stolen, including financial documents, confidential data, IT documents, and entire databases from the department. The information was posted on LockBit’s leak site, making it seem painfully likely that they are responsible for the attack. However, there is an admittedly small chance that the hack wasn’t LockBit, but rather a fan that wished to get in with the group and hacked the department. After that, the “groupie,” for lack of a better word, would have either sold or gifted the information to LockBit, allowing them to post it on their site and claim it.

How Did the California Department of Finance Admit to the Breach?

The department didn’t admit the breach, though the California Cybersecurity Integration Center (Cal-CSIC) did. In a statement posted to the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services website, California’s Department of Technology, Military Department, Office of Emergency Services, and Highway Patrol are all involved in dealing with the breach. The state appears to have most of its government resources attached to this breach, making many wonder how many California citizens were involved. 

What Will Become of the Stolen Information?

Of course, hackers have endless opportunities to sell their acquired information, especially for a group as prominent as LockBit. With a label like LockBit on it, the information would be like buying a Stephen King novel; there can be a price markup just for the name attached. The information may also be posted on the site for free, allowing anyone with a TOR browser to access the data. 

What Should Affected Parties Do in the Aftermath of the Breach?

A breach like this one has many victims, some of which are likely minors, as minors can get jobs in California as young as 14. Having a job means your information is held by the financial department of whatever state you live or work in, meaning this hack is putting anyone that works in California at risk. IDStrong can help by offering identity theft monitoring, where you will be alerted to the unauthorized use of your information, along with credit and dark web monitoring. We will alert you almost immediately if your information is found on the dark web and will offer you suggestions as to how to deal with the intrusion.

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