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U.S. Marshal Service Hit With 'Major' Security Breach

Jon Way

The United States Marshal Service was the target of a massive security breach that compromised what officials are calling highly sensitive information. The hack occurred a week ago, with data on current USMS personnel and investigations being compromised in the process. The system was cut pending an investigation. The database on those in the Witness Protection Program was not infiltrated (via NBC News): 


In a statement Monday, U.S. Marshals Service spokesperson Drew Wade acknowledged the breach, telling NBC News: “The affected system contains law enforcement sensitive information, including returns from legal process, administrative information, and personally identifiable information pertaining to subjects of USMS investigations, third parties, and certain USMS employees.”

Wade said the incident occurred Feb. 17, when the Marshals Service "discovered a ransomware and data exfiltration event affecting a stand-alone USMS system." 

The system was disconnected from the network, and the Justice Department began a forensic investigation, Wade said. 


A senior law enforcement official familiar with the incident said the breach did not involve the database involving the Witness Security Program, commonly known as the witness protection program. The official said no one in the witness protection program is in danger because of the breach. 


USMS officials added that a workaround system would be built so the agency could continue operations involving capturing known fugitives. And while those in WITSEC are safe for now, it’s a bit jarring that the agency tasked with serving warrants, protecting federal judges, capturing escaped criminals, and ensuring that the judiciary is functional has been severely handicapped.

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