US Marshals’ Service Suffers a “Major Incident” – A Major Threat to Security


The United States Marshals Service (USMS) was hit with a ransomware attack, the agency said in a statement. It was a “Major Incident,” one that could endanger the safety of the nation.

The incident occurred on February 17, and “officials determined that it constitutes a major incident,” according to an agency spokesperson.

Ransomware is malware that locks up computer systems until a “ransom” is paid to unlock the system.

“Shortly after that discovery, the USMS disconnected the affected system, and the Department of Justice initiated a forensic investigation,” according to the spokesperson. “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.”


In 2019, a hacker exploited(Opens in a new window) a vulnerability to access a server containing information on 387,000 current and former inmates.

“Major Incident” is a designation reserved for any attack that could pose a threat to national security, foreign relations or the US economy or which threatens to undermine public confidence, civil liberties or the health and safety of the American public.

A senior official subsequently told NBC that no information pertaining to the Witness Security Program had been compromised in the cyberattack.

Ironically, news of the breach coincided with Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) director Jen Easterly’s warning that cyber intrusions “can do real damage to our nation – leading to theft of our intellectual property and personal information”.

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