Personal information of 2,500 Los Angeles police department officers and 17,500 people who had applied to join the force were disclosed in a hack, the department announced on Monday. The department was informed of a potential breach of records held by the city’s personnel department on July 25, and it notified affected officers over the weekend, The Guardian reports. The compromised data included officers’ names, dates of birth, the last four digits of their social security numbers, and the email addresses and passwords they set up when applying for the job, said a spokesman for the mayor’s office.
“We take the protection of personal data very seriously, and the city has informed the individuals who may have been affected,” the spokesman said. “The city’s Information Technology Agency has added additional layers of security to guard against future events of this kind.” The spokesman noted that the city of Los Angeles had launched a number of cybersecurity programs since Mayor Eric Garcetti took office. Cities and law enforcement agencies have been increasingly targeted by hackers in recent years. City and state governments, as well as local police forces, have also increasingly been the victims of ransomware attacks, said Terence Jackson of Thycotic, a Washington, D.C., security provider. “The attackers are attacking these targets because of the criticality of the data they store,” he said. “This should be a wake-up call to municipalities all over the country to re-assess their current state of cyber security, find the gaps and implement the necessary countermeasures.” Many city agencies lack funding to properly secure data and investigate after the hacks, said Arshad Noor of StrongKey, aSilicon Valley data security company.