The GEO Group, a company known for running private prisons and illegal immigration detention centers in the US and other countries, says it suffered a ransomware attack over the summer. Personal data and health information for some inmates and residents were exposed during the incident, which took place on August 19.
This includes data for inmates and employees at the South Bay Correctional and Rehabilitation Facility in Florida, a youth facility in Marienville, Pennsylvania, and a now-closed facility in California, the company told ZDNet. “GEO implemented several containment and remediation measures to address the incident, restore its systems and reinforce the security of its networks and information technology systems,” the company said.
GEO said it recovered its data but did not say if this meant restoring from backups or paying the ransomware gang to decrypt its files.
What we need to recall is if ransomware got in, the attackers could have stolen and manipulated all information the malware accessed. As before in this case, ransomware may be the lesser good compared to an attacker with persistent access and the ability to read and change information. As it’s a private entity the data breach disclosure comes so late that it would be illegal in Europe, but still, transparency is good.