The US Marshals Service suffered a security breach more than a week ago that compromised sensitive information, several top US law enforcement officials said Monday.
In a statement Monday, US Marshals Service spokesman Drew Wade acknowledged the breach, telling NBC News: “The affected system contains sensitive law enforcement information, including process statements legal, administrative information, and personally identifiable information related to subjects of USMS investigations, third parties, and certain USMS employees.”
Wade said the incident occurred on February 17, when the Marshals Service “discovered a ransomware and data exfiltration event that affected an independent USMS system.”
The system was disconnected from the network and the Justice Department launched a forensic investigation, Wade said.
He added that on Wednesday, after the agency informed senior department officials, “those officials determined that this is a significant incident.”
The investigation is ongoing, Wade said.
A senior law enforcement official familiar with the incident said the breach did not involve the Witness Security Program database, commonly known as the witness protection program. The official said that no one in the witness protection program is in danger due to the violation.
However, the official said, the incident is significant as it affects sensitive law enforcement information belonging to the subjects of the Marshals Service investigations.
The official said the agency has been able to develop a solution to be able to continue operations and efforts to track fugitives.
zoe richards contributed.