Metro Detroit police departments targeted in ransomware attacks

Multiple Wayne County police agencies were targeted on Friday in a ransomware attack but were able to thwart a data breach thanks to quick actions.

The details of what agencies were impacted and when by a cyberattack are still emerging, but Wyandotte Police Lt. Neil Hunter said they noticed a lot of phishing emails this week sent to officers and city workers.

According to Hunter, a records management system that supports several downriver police agencies was hit with malware. They're still determining which departments all had to deal with the mess but FOX 2 has learned that servers had to be shut down temporarily to fix the issue

"(It) made things a little painful for us for a minute, but they were really quick with their response in taking care of the issue. We’re back full running normally," Hunter said.

The good news is that this was not a data breach. 

"Our IT identified it rather quickly. They took care of the problem before it became a bigger problem," Hunter said.

Darrin Hanna is a cybersecurity and hardware expert out of Oakland University and says criminals working online can get to secure systems more easily than you think.

"Malware is planted, typically, the simplest way is by sending emails and having you download attachments or clicking on a link that takes you to a website that actually isn't the website you think it is," he said.

In the end, it comes down to being vigilant before you click or tap on that email attachment.

"The methods people are using to perform these attacks is evolving and changing at all times. Protecting yourself requires a plan, implementing that, and it also requires continuously changing things," Hanna said.