Eurofins, the UK’s largest police forensics lab paid ransom after an attack

Pierluigi Paganini July 06, 2019

Eurofins Scientific, the UK’s biggest provider of forensic services, has paid a ransom to demand to recover its data after a ransomware attack.

Eurofins Scientific, the UK’s largest police forensics lab contractor, announced to have paid a ransom to crooks to recover its data after a ransomware had been encrypted them.

The company is based in Brussels and manages more than 800 laboratories all over the world.

The firm confirmed that it was hit by a “highly sophisticated” attack that occurred a month ago, on June 2, the British police was obliged to suspend its activity with the testing company.

“Eurofins Scientific (EUFI.PA) today announced that during the weekend of 2nd June, its IT security monitoring teams detected a form of ransomware which caused disruption to some of its IT systems.” reads the press release published by the Eurofins Scientific. “Upon detection of the issue, according to our incident management procedures, many systems and servers were taken off line by the group’s IT teams to contain the activity of this new version of malware.”

At the time, the amount of ransom has not been disclosed by the victim.

According to the company, both internal and external IT forensics experts that investigated the incident have not found evidence of exfiltration of data client. The UK National Crime Agency is investigating the incident too.

On June 24, Eurofins published a new press release, the third one, that confirmed that it was beginning to recover from the security breach.

“In spite of sometimes significant obstacles, the staff in our laboratories that were affected has been finding countless ways of working to ensure the full or partial continuity of their business and to minimise the impact of this ransomware attack on their customers.” reads the press release. “The impact of this attack on our financial results may unfortunately be material especially for Q2 but at this point, it is still too early to evaluate the net potential financial impact of this incident on our operations as well as the proportion of revenue losses that will be mitigated by reimbursement from our insurers.”

Experts believe that the company had paid the ransom and was able to restore its systems using the decryption key provided by the crooks.

Eurofins works on over 70,000 criminal cases in the UK every year, it conduct for law enforcement forensic works, including DNA testing, toxicology analysis, firearms testing and computer forensics.

At this point, it is likely that the forensic works conducted at the Eurofins would not be admissible in court following the security breach.

“We are working to make sure all hearings remain fair and based on reliable evidence. While investigations are ongoing, prosecutors will assess the impact on a case by case basis.” the Crown Prosecution Service said.

“Cases where forensic evidence does not play a major role will continue as ‎usual if all parties agree.”

“If ‎test results provided by Eurofins are central, we will seek to adjourn cases for the shortest possible period.”

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Pierluigi Paganini

(SecurityAffairs – Eurofins, hacking)

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