Eurofins cyber-attack update: Police facing massive forensic backlog

  • Last June's cyber-attack on the Eurofins forensics lab is still having serious consequences for UK police work, with a backlog of over 15,000 samples still to be processed.

    Back in June, forensics lab Eurofins was hit with a ransomware attack that disrupted all of its operations. The lab's computers were infected by a malicious program that encrypted all of the important data held by the company and then demanded payment to unlock the files. Companies need to have extensive backup and restore systems in place to prevent data loss when issues such as this happen.

    Though the data affected by the attack was most likely not leaked to attackers and Eurofins found no evidence that the information had been accessed, the lab had to be shut down for investigation. The firm found that a piece of previously unseen piece of malware had managed to get past the company's anti-malware protections and compromise its internal network security.

    Among those affected by the lab shutdown was the UK police, who used it for around half of all forensic analysis work. This includes analysing blood samples and DNA specimens from crime scenes, and shutting down the lab meant massive and uncertain delays to ongoing criminal cases that relied on this evidence.

    The National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) determined that the lab was safe to use again three weeks ago, but in that time a backlog of over 20,000 samples waiting to be processed accumulated. The lab is now clearing the backlog, with 5,000 samples already processed and the remaining 15,000 expected to be cleared within the next two months.

    The network breach and malware attack are still under investigation to see if anything could have been done to prevent them, but this continues to be a sobering reminder of the need for companies to have robust cyber-security protection and tested data backup systems in place.

    Source: BBC News


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